President receives investiture as the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Olmpic Committee at the State House in Abuja. Conscience Asks… - 1 day ago A Joke, a Plot, a Blot - July 22, 2016 Irritants XVIII - July 15, 2016 Erdogan’s Kissing Buns - July 8, 2016 Ps in the 43rd - July 1, 2016View all Which VP Candidate has a Better Record on Armenian Genocide Recognition? ANKARA (Hurriyet)–Amid severely damaged ties with Turkey, the Israeli army has moved to replace the formerly valuable military cooperation through newly developed relations with Athens and Bucharest. Since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres clashed 20 months ago in Davos, Switzerland, the talk in Western capitals has been about whether Ankara has reversed its traditional pro-Western foreign policy. Amid the severely damaged ties, the Israeli army has moved to replace its formerly valuable military cooperation with Turkey through newly developed relations with two Balkan countries, Greece and Romania.
At the zenith of the Turkish-Israeli relationship between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s, Israeli aircraft were training in the skies over Anatolia, and the militaries of the two then-allies had joint maneuvers several times each year. Turkish-Israeli ties hit the bottom in late May when Israeli commandos attacked a Gaza-bound Turkish-led aid flotilla, killing nine onboard.

Israel, whose size is nearly half of Turkey’s central province of Konya, has very limited airspace.
In late July, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou visited Israel, and less than a month later Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hosted in Athens by Papandreou.
Former Aegean rivals Greece and Turkey have greatly improved relations especially in the past 10 years.
Still, Athens’ rapprochement with Israel comes at a time of an extreme mutual frustration in Israeli-Turkish ties.
Romania is another Balkan country recently developing military cooperation with Israel, but nothing much is known about it publicly.
The Israeli-Romanian military cooperation inadvertently became public when an Israeli heavy-lift military helicopter crashed in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains area in late July. Being debated much less, however, are Israel’s countermeasures to make up for lost military opportunities in Turkey.

The ties reached a strategic level in the mid-1990s with the signing of a critical defense cooperation agreement in 1996, which also led to Turkey’s purchase of Israeli defense equipment worth billions of dollars over the next decade. The Israeli Air Force’s training program in Turkish airspace was halted and in October last year, Israel was expelled from Turkey’s annual international Air Force exercises. Ironically, during the long rule of Papandreou’s father, late Prime Minister Andrea Papandreou, Israel had accused Greece of favoritism toward the Arab side in the Arab-Israeli conflict and of tolerance for individuals Israel considered to be terrorists. Greece now backs Turkey’s eventual membership to the European Union, and Ankara is preparing to remove Athens from a list of threats in its next national security document expected to be adopted soon.
Romania, a member of the former Warsaw Pact during the decades of the Cold War, had tense ties with Israel as part of the Soviet policies of the time.

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