JERUSALEM (JTA) – Turkey’s prime minister said his country has closed its airspace to Israeli planes.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed Monday during the G-20 summit in Toronto that the airspace was closed following Israel’s May 31 interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine passengers, all Turks, were killed. The ban appears to apply only to military planes.
Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and scrapped several joint military exercises in the wake of the incident. Relations between Israel and Turkey have been deteriorating since the Gaza war in the winter of 2008-09.
Military planes are required to receive overflight permission from Turkey on a case-by-case basis. An Israeli military cargo plane carrying more than 100 Israeli soldiers to visit Auschwitz in Poland recently was denied permission to use Turkish airspace, Yediot Achronot reported.
Turkey has called for an apology from Israel for the flotilla incident.