Jerusalem, 5 May 1997


(Communicated by Defense Minister’s Spokesperson)

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai met this afternoon (Monday), 5.5.97, with Turkish Deputy Chief of Staff General Cevik Bir, who is currently leading a delegation of 23 senior officers in Israel, as part of the periodic strategic dialogue between the security establishments of the two countries.

The two discussed a wide variety of subjects, connected to the various aspects of security co-operation between Israel and Turkey, inter alia, joint industrial projects, the struggle against terror and other issues.

The Defense Minister said at the meeting that he has no doubt that this co- operation will contribute to stability in the Middle East, and that it is his intention to widen and deepen the links, so that the security establishments of Turkey and Israel may mutually benefit from each others’ experiences.

Defense Minister Mordechai welcomed the anticipated joint naval-exercises between the Turkish, Israeli and U.S. militaries, and told the Turkish Deputy Chief of Staff that he attaches great importance to this area, and brought up the subject in talks he took part in with U.S. leaders.

The Turkish Deputy Chief of Staff, General Cevik Bir, informed the Defense Minister of inititiatives he has taken with regard to the joint exercises, and said that the Turkish Defense Minister, who was in Israel last week, viewed his visit as extremely beneficial.

General Bir supported the need to strengthen and deepen security co- operation between the two countries, and stressed to the Defense Minister how much he and his colleagues were impressed with their visits to Israel air Industries, to a Merkava factory and to other industrial projects. "We heard and learnt about, and saw," said the General, "high-tech, state of the art technological ventures, pertaining to almost all areas of the military, and all of them developed and produced by Israel."

He informed Defense Minister Mordechai of the Turkish satisfaction with Israel Air Industries upgrading program for the Turkish Air Forces’ F-4s.

Also taking part in the meeting between the Defense Minister and the General were the Defense Minister’s senior Aide, David Ivry, the Director- General of the Defense Ministry, Ilan Biran, his deputy Koti Mor, the Israeli military attache in Ankara, the Turkish Ambassador to Israel and senior representatives of the Turkish Army and Air Force.