ANKARA — Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has rejected the notion that Israel be given access to data designed to protect alliance members against ballistic missile threats from a rogue nation.
“Any data or information produced by this system will only be available to the alliance, as in the case for other alliance systems,” Yilmaz said in an email message to Defense News on June 12. “Information-sharing with non-NATO actors is subject to specific arrangements and it is possible only if the allies consensually agree on it.”
NATO agreed in a summit meeting in Lisbon two years ago to devise a missile defense system to protect alliance members from a rogue nation in the area. As part of the system, Turkey agreed to allow the U.S. military to install a special X-band radar at a base in Kurecik in southeastern Turkey.
Although there has been some discussion of sharing the radar’s data with Israel, the Turkish government likely would object if the alliance sought to do so. Former allies Israel and Turkey have become foes as a result of Turkey’s objections to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Yilmaz also said his ultimate objective as defense minister would be the development of Turkey’s national defense industry.
“The Ministry of National Defense will continue its modernization program ... and will support the national defense industry by following the scientific developments in the world,” he said.