Israel fixes, returns four aerial drones to Turkey in possible sign of warming ties


In another possible sign of a thaw in the icy relations between Israel and Turkey, Israel has fixed and returned to Turkey four of the five unmanned aerial Heron drones which were sent to Israel for repairs several years ago.

Ankara purchased the drones several years ago, signing a contract with the Israeli government which Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Jerusalem of breaking when the Herons were not promptly fixed and returned to Turkey. “Are they even ethical?” Erdogan asked of Israel last September. “There can be problems amongst people and resentment; they can refrain from meeting with each other. All of this is possible, but when it comes to international agreements, there is an international trade ethic.”

According to a report in the Turkish Sabah daily on Saturday, however, the repair and maintenance work has now been performed on the Israeli-made drones, and they have quietly been returned to Ankara. The first was returned in April, and the other three were sent back a few days ago. A fifth is reportedly still undergoing repair.