The Israeli security services have expressed concerns about a new arms race in the region following Turkey's move to acquire sophisticated weaponry and equipment to strengthen its armed forces.
In its issue of Thursday May 24, Haaretz newspaper quoted Israeli security and military sources as saying that Tel Aviv is very concerned about the advanced discussions between the US and Turkey for the purchase of missile-carrier drones for the Turkish Air Force. "This," claim the unnamed sources, "would affect the superiority of the Israeli Air Force and launch a new arms race in the Middle East."
The newspaper pointed out that discussions are taking place about an agreement for Turkey to purchase Predator missile-carrier drones. They are regarded as a strong competitor to the advanced models produced by the Israel Aerospace Industries, said Haaretz.
A senior Israeli official said that if Turkey has such aircraft, it would "change the military balance in the region". It was also pointed out that Israel has been monitoring Ankara's efforts to buy drones from a number of countries.
The last few years have witnessed a remarkable deterioration in relations between Tel Aviv and Ankara. As a result, the once frequent military cooperation between the two countries has been frozen, and joint exercises between the Israeli and Turkish armed forces have ceased.