Israel has implemented a tempory freeze on sales of advanced weapons systems to Turkey, apparently as a result of scathing criticism of Israel by Turkey after the 2008-09 attack by Israel on Gaza. After the attack on Gaza the military cooperation agreement between the two nations was terminated. There has also been problems between Israel and Turkey resulting from the sale of Heron drones to Turkey, which has had many contractual problems.
Here is an excellent UPI article on recent Israel Turkey arms trading issues.
One of the problems outline for Israel is the effects that it has on Israeli air systems testing and training. Turkey had provided airspace for training, and now Israel must find other places, of which Roumania and Hungary have been tried, and India suggested. Turkey’s banning of Israeli training from Turkish air space probably hampered training for a possible air strike on Iran.
This issue provides a window on Israel’s attempts to bully trading partners to get what it wants. It also suggest’s Israel’s vulnerability, since it can obviously be influenced by the actions of its trading partners.
This is one of the few tangible negatives that Israel has sustained as a result of Operation Cast Lead, as Turkey has become more closely aligned with Israel’s most vocal enemies, Syria and Iran.
In terms of drones however Israel gets plenty of training and development opportunities by its drone rentals and sales to many countries in NATO. Israeli arms company personnel are often intimately involved in the deployment of these drones, and thus get valuable experience in operating them in a wide theatre of war.
Turkey has been a valuable ally for Israel, and could be a dangerous enemy. Not because it is likely that Turkey and Israel would ever be in armed conflict, but because Turkey is in NATO, and can veto Israel’s involvement in NATO. Israel values its ties with NATO, and uses its agreements with NATO to integrate its weapons systems with NATO. Without being able to integrate its weapons systems with those of NATO, Israel would be hampered in making weapons sales, especially with NATO countries.
Israel’s military intelligence chief Maj. General Amos Yadlin deflected focus on Israel’s attack on Gaza, and blamed the cooling of relations on Turkey’s drift away from secularism towards ‘radical Islam’.