Turkish Drones Idle in Absence of Israeli Staff

17 June 2010 (Last Updated June 17th, 2010 18:30)

Turkey's six Heron drones, located at an air base near Turkey's Iraqi and Iranian borders, have stopped flying, after Israeli operators left the base due to Turkish-Israeli tensions. Turkish Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul told the Anatolia News Agency that Turkish personnel would soon beg

Turkey's six Heron drones, located at an air base near Turkey's Iraqi and Iranian borders, have stopped flying, after Israeli operators left the base due to Turkish-Israeli tensions.

Turkish Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul told the Anatolia News Agency that Turkish personnel would soon begin operating the Herons.

Turkish personnel were trained in Israel to operate the drones and have operated the UAVs in Turkey since their delivery, according to Gonul.

Turkey-Israeli political relations have been strained since Israeli commandos raided a Turkish-led aid flotilla bound for the Palestinian Gaza Strip on 31 May 2010, killing nine Turks.

Turkey received the six Herons in April from Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit as part of a $188m contract signed in 2005.