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World Briefing / Turkey

Multinational drill is canceled over Israel flap

October 12, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Turkey has called off an international military drill because it opposed Israel's participation, Israeli defense officials said, a move that sent strained relations between the two nations to a new low.

Turkey has long been the Jewish state's best friend in the Muslim world. But ties have deteriorated since Israel's war last winter against Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip, which killed hundreds of civilians.

The Turkish military's website said international participation in the sixth annual Anatolia Eagle drill had been canceled after "international negotiations conducted by the Turkish Foreign Ministry." The two-week exercise was to have begun Saturday.

Israeli officials said that in response to Turkey's decision, the U.S. pulled out of the exercise, forcing Ankara to cancel the drill. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak. There was no immediate U.S. comment.

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