Turkey Offers Israel Help in Controlling Fire Despite Tense Relations

Officials in Turkish embassy in U.S. say Israel accepted two firefighting aircraft, say Turkey was one of the first governments to offer help.

Turkish officials in Washington said Thursday that Turkey has offered to send Israel two firefighting aircraft to help control the huge brushfire that has been raging through northern Israel.

"Israel has accepted the offer and ours was, I guess, one of the first governments to offer help," the spokesperson of the Turkish embassy in the United States told Haaretz.

erdogan - Reuters - December 1 2010

After the fire resulted in the death of 40 people and kept raging into the night on Thursday, Israel has turned to foreign countries in search of firefighting aircraft needed to control the blaze.

Israel asked the United States and other European countries for urgent help in taming the flames by sending firefighting aircraft.

Turkey's offer comes as its relations with Israel have deteriorated in recent years and reached a low point last May when nine Turkish citizens were killed as Israeli naval commandos boarded a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.