Turkey's Tricky Drone Diplomacy

(Daily Beast) Owen Mathews - The Turkish military relies on 10 Israeli-made Heron drones, purchased from Israel in 2004 for $183 million, as its eyes in the sky. But at least five of them are currently undergoing maintenance in Israel - leaving the Turkish military reliant on American Predator drones to spy on Kurdish separatists. Crucial to all Turkish anti-PKK operations is intelligence gathered by U.S.-operated Predators currently stationed inside Iraqi Kurdistan. Those drones are due to be withdrawn along with the rest of U.S. forces by Dec. 31. Last week Ankara renewed a 2009 request to have six MQ-1 and MQ-6 Predator drones moved to Turkish soil in order to continue the fight against the PKK. Turkey's original request was squashed after concern from U.S. lawmakers about Erdogan's friendship with Iran and hostility toward Israel. Since then those concerns have only intensified.

2011-09-14 00:00:00

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