Top Israel Defense Official: Military Ties With Turkey Still in Effect

Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad says Israel's military attaché is still at work in Ankara despite Turkish declarations of total freeze, discounts threats of all-out war and adds Israel's security 'has never been better'.

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Israel's military ties with Turkey are still in effect, a top Israeli defense official said on Tuesday, thus discounting recent Turkish declarations of a total freeze of military cooperation between the long-time allies.

On Friday, Turkey announced the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador over Israel's refusal to apologize for its raid of a 2010 Gaza-bound aid flotilla, also indicating that Ankara would sever its substantial military ties with Jerusalem.

Amos Gilad, May 15, 2011.Credit: Moti Kimche

However, speaking to Israel Radio on Tuesday, Amos Gilad, director of policy and political-military affairs at the Defense Ministry, said military relations between Israel and Turkey were still operational, adding that "Israel's military attaché was continuing his work."

"Turkey has a lot to lose from extreme behavior," Gilad said, adding that he felt that was "the space in which Israel has to maneuver."

The top defense official also referred to recent comments made by the head of the IDF Home Front Command on Monday, according to which Israel was on the brink of all-out war in the Middle East.

Speaking to the Institute for National Security Studies on Monday, Major General Eyal Eisenberg said that such a conflict could potentially include the use of weapons of mass destruction, cautioning that the Arab Spring could turn into the "Radical Islamic Winter".

In comments made to Israel Radio and Army Radio on Tuesday, however, Gilad said that "we are not in all-out war situation, there's no such scenario."

"We do no discount threats, but all-out war isn't the way things are on the ground, but the other way around, the situation has improved," Gilad added. The defense official went further, saying that Israel's security "has never been better."

"There's no domestic terror, we have achieved deterrence in the North and the South, and there's no coalition of stable Arab armies in the region," he added.

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