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Turkey excludes Israel from military air exercise.

Summary: Turkey has excluded Israel from an air exercise over its territory, leading to its cancellation, the Israeli military said on Sunday, in a sign of worsening relations between the two close American

Turkey has excluded Israel from an air exercise over its territory, leading to its cancellation, the Israeli military said on Sunday, in a sign of worsening relations between the two close American allies.

"The exercise Anatolian Eagle which was planned to take place in Turkey from Oct. 12 to 23 has been postponed until further notice," the Israeli military said in a statement. "The exercise has been postponed as a result of Turkey's decision to change the list of participating countries, thus excluding Israel. This decision came several days before the start of the exercise," it said, without giving further details.

Turkish officials had no immediate comment.

The exercise, which takes place every few years with the aim of improving international aerial cooperation, was to involve Turkish, Israeli and several other NATO air forces.

The Israeli media said the decision to postpone the exercises came after the United States pulled out once Turkey had excluded Israel.

Israeli public radio said that this year's maneuvers were to include practicing aerial attacks in Turkish airspace near borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Local media speculated that the decision would bring relations between Israel and Turkey to a new low, which took a sharp downturn during Tel Aviv's bombardment of Gaza at the turn of the year, which Ankara heavily criticized.

In early September, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu cancelled a visit to Israel over what media reports said was a refusal to let him visit the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

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Publication:Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia)
Date:Oct 10, 2009
Words:288
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