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March 12, 2012 4:45 pm

Wikileaks Global Intelligence Files: Israel Day 15, Turkey Won’t Act if Israel Strikes Iran

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The Turkish submarine Preveze surfaces following a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) submarine escape and rescue exercise. Photo: wiki commons.

Since February 27, 2012, WikiLeaks has continued releasing what it says will eventually be 5 million e-mails sent between July 2004 and late December 2011 from the private intelligence company Stratfor. The emails were obtained from a series of hacking attacks against Stratfor in December 2011, carried out by the online activist collective Anonymous.

An email dated November 14, 2009, refers to a source described as a “Turkish air force captain in DC for training on F-35 joint strike fighter”. The source has a reliability rating of B, the second highest Stratfor ranking and a “high” credibility rating.

According to the source, Turkish-Israeli defense ties were still strong despite political tensions at the time. He said, “Turkey provides the money for the research, the Israelis develop it and then they sell it for 10x the amount.”

The source mentioned that Turkey was not notified and did not know about the Israeli strike on the Syrian nuclear site in 2007. He explained that Israeli jets exploited a blind spot in Turkey’s air defenses but it has been fixed now “and they deploy forces every 15 days to patrol the area.”

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A separate email dated November 8, 2009, refers to a source described as a “Turkish air force captain in DC for training on F-35 joint strike fighter”, likely the same individual mentioned above. The source has an unknown reliability rating and a “high” credibility rating.

According to the source, “Israeli mil/special forces [were] training in Turkish mountains for prep against Iran.” This is because “…Iran has very rough terrain and in winter it is especially difficult weather” while Israel has a Mediterranean climate.

The email mentions that the Turkish air force is expected to receive F-35 joint strike fighters in 2015 and that US-Turkish defense trade is worth $10.5 billion.

The source said that at the time, “Turkish-Israeli defense ties are still very strong” and that the Turkish military was disappointed at an AKP [Turkish government] decision to exclude Israel from the Anatolian Eagle air force exercises. He also predicted that Turkey will not take any action if the United States or Israel strikes Iran.

An email dated September 8, 2011, refers to a pledge made by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to use warships to escort Turkish aid vessels to the Gaza Strip.

Stratfor employee, Kamran Bokhari predicted that Israel won’t take any action in international waters.  He wrote: “Since Gaza is neither a state entity nor a part of any state, there is a huge debate over the status of its territorial waters. Israel has a naval presence there. So the question is whether the Turks would be willing to venture that far.”

Another Stratfor employee, Nate Hughes noted that Israel has “greater proficiency at night operations” and that “Israeli doctrine dictates hitting them at night under cover of darkness.”

This email also contained analysis that concluded “Turkey might be using Israel as a convenient punching bag” and that too much Turkish military power projection could alienate neighbors, including Arab countries. The article referred to Turkey’s tensions with Greece, Cyprus, Syria and Iran.

The email stated that “Turkey is NATO’s second biggest military and its navy is considered to be far superior to that of Israel’s, although the Jewish state is widely assumed to have submarines that carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.”

The email mentioned that Turkey is unlikely to send frigates to challenge “Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which the United Nations has declared legal,” and that “it seems implausible that Turkey, as a NATO member, could get involved in actual hostilities with Israel.”

According to this email, some Turkish and Israeli analysts believe that Turkey does not want “…a showdown with Israel over Gaza, but to build up a naval presence between Cyprus and Israel to create a sense of menace and scare investors away from the gas fields there.”

An email dated August 16, 2010, mentions the improving ties between Israel and Greece. According to this email, “Greece will allow Israeli jet fighters to use its air space for training” and Greece has realized it can no longer afford to confront Turkey by itself due to its debt crisis.

A separate email dated September 28, 2011, states that Cyprus will take advantage of the worsening ties between Turkey and Israel. The email notes that Cyprus has continued drilling for energy despite Turkish objections. The email also states that “Turkey’s relations with the European Union are at their nadir” and that “the Turkish government already announced it will suspend all ties with the European Union when Cyprus assumes the European Union’s rotating presidency in the second half of 2012.”

This email also contained the following statement:

“Turkey hoped that, if not outright endorsing Ankara’s position and calling for Cyprus to end its drilling, the United States would at least turn a blind eye to Turkey’s efforts. However, this has turned out not to be the case, with Washington making clear in a number of ways that it is supporting Cyprus in the dispute.”

An email dated June 4, 2010, noted that Turkish Imam Fethullah Gulen, who is described as “Turkey’s most influential religious leader” criticized the Gaza Flotilla. He is quoted as saying that the “organizers failure to seek accord with Israel before attempting to deliver aid ‘is a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters’.”

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