Strained ties with Turkey hurt Israeli defense contract with U.S. firm

Boeing apparently weighing other suppliers after Israel’s Elta ordered by Defense Ministry to hold components to be fitted in AWACS planes purchased by Turkey.


An Israeli refusal to supply components to be fitted in an airborne early warning and control (AWACS) craft purchased by the Turkish military is straining ties between Israeli defense suppliers and American giant aerospace Boeing, Defense News reported on Thursday.

Boeing AEW&C

A Turkish Air Force Boeing AEW&C Peace Eagle. Photo by: Boeing

According to the report, the Defense Ministry ordered Elta, the firm contracted to supply the components, to hold two shipments over Israel’s reluctance to see Israeli-made security equipment being used by Turkey.

However, as a result of the Israeli instruction, U.S. giant Boeing may turn to other suppliers to fill the missing components, even in contracts regarding planes due to be delivered to South Korea, as well as other countries.

So far, the Israeli firm delivered only two out of a promised four component shipments, and this after the Defense Ministry already interfered in the sale of long-range aerial photography systems, which cost the Elbit defense firm $55 million.

Defense News cited sources in Elta as saying that the reason for the delay was a political one, and linked to Israel’s strained ties to Turkey. A spokesperson for the Israeli firm clarified that the company was working with Boeing to release the shipments in order to ensure the delivery of the AWACS planes to Turkey by the end of the year.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul also referred to the NATO early-warning radar system deployed in the country, saying that Israel could not share information received by the system since “Israel isn’t a NATO member and thus cannot enjoy NATO benefits,” calling allegations that Turkey opposed to a transfer of info “dark propaganda.”

Gul reiterated the Turkish claim that the radar was not “against Iran.”

Turkey agreed to deploy the system in its territory on the condition that the contract specifying the radar’s work would not indicate that it was directed at Iran. The two countries expressed bitter differences over the radar’s deployment, with even Turkish opposition officials blaming the government of protecting Israel, despite its own statements to the contrary.

Israel’s crisis with Turkey will also complicate the transferable of gas extracted by the Nobel energy company off the shores of Cyprus.

According to the Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yıldız, Turkey could have served as a convenient conduit for the distribution of natural gas to the European markets, adding, however, that strained ties with Israel would bring about a spike in transportation costs in the drill.

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By Zvi Bar’el