Israeli defense employees recalled from Turkey


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two Israeli defense contractors recalled their employees from Turkey.

Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems Ltd. over the weekend ordered back to Israel engineers and flight instructors working with the Turkish military to teach them how to operate the Heron unmanned aerial vehicles provided to Turkey as part of a $180 million deal.

The Turkish English-language news service Zaman reported late Monday that following the withdrawal, the Turkish army has decided to use Turkish-produced aircraft for intelligence gathering.

The Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles will surpass Israel’s Herons with some of its qualifications, according to Zaman.

Turkey struck the deal to buy 10 Herons in 2004, but the companies missed several deadlines to deliver all of the drones. Turkey reportedly was not satisfied with the six drones that were delivered, since they did not achieve the maximum flight times detailed in the agreement.

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