Israel, Turkey Hold First Military Drill Since Row

esmaeeli20091014215450406JERUSALEM  (AFP)–Israel and Turkey held a joint military drill in the Turkish capital, Ankara, an official said Tuesday in a first cooperation of this kind since Turkey excluded Israel from an exercise in October, sparking a diplomatic row.

Israeli and Turkish army units conducted a joint search and rescue exercise in Ankara between Nov. 3 and 5, the military official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Israel’s relations with Turkey took a downturn in January when Ankara launched unprecedented criticism of Israel’s devastating war on the besieged Gaza Strip. The tensions climaxed in a public row between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres at a high-profile international gathering in Davos, Switzerland in January.

In October, Turkey excluded Israel from joint NATO military drills and said that bilateral ties would continue to suffer unless Israel ends “the humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza and revives peace talks with the Palestinians.

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