IDF Journal Runs Essay by Turkey Army Chief, Despite Gaza Flotilla Row

Latest edition of the official IDF magazine 'Maarachot' opens with essay ascribed to General Ilker Basburg, chief of the Turkish general staff.

The opening essay in the latest edition of the official Israel Defense Forces magazine "Maarachot" is an article ascribed to General Ilker Basbug, chief of the Turkish general staff.

The essay, based on a speech Basbug delivered to a NATO conference in March, includes a prologue penned by his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.

The issue, which came out this week, apparently underwent final editing after the navy's May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla left nine Turkish nationals dead. Following the raid, the Turkish government withdrew its ambassador from Tel Aviv and threatened to sever ties with Israel unless it apologized and compensated the victims' families.

However, the relationship between the IDF and the Turkish army remains stronger than the frayed civilian political ties, and Ashkenazi's prologue stressed the IDF's close cooperation with Turkey's defense establishment.

Ashkenazi wrote that he wanted to acquaint the journal's readers with "the gist of a presentation given by my colleague, the Turkish chief of staff, during a NATO conference in Ankara devoted to the subject of international terrorism. The general's overview highlights the importance of international cooperation in the struggle against terrorism and reflects the vast experience Turkey has amassed over dozens of years of fighting terrorism, particularly against the [Kurdish] PKK."

Turkish General Ilker Basburg
IDF Spokesman

"As a member of NATO and a large, important Muslim country that shares a border with Syria, Iraq and Iran, Turkey is a strategically pivotal country for regional security, as well as on the issue of water," he continued. "The IDF and the Turkish army maintain military and security ties managed by military attaches stationed in both countries, hold mutual visits, stage joint war games and have conducted a long-running dialogue in many fields. I participated in the Ankara conference at which the general delivered his remarks. I am certain his statements will enrich our knowledge and strengthen awareness of the importance of joining forces to combat terrorism in all its forms."

Basbug wrote that "Turkey has been fighting terrorism for 30 years. In this time, it has suffered heavy losses and incurred a high economic price for its war on terror. Other countries must also be ready to pay the price of a war on terror...

"The primary goal of combating terrorism is to deny terrorist organizations and their supporters any hope of succeeding and to show them that terrorism leads to a dead end," he added.