Israel No Longer Friend For Turkey’s F-16s And Warships

Turkish F-16C
Turkey’s Military Electronics Industry
(ASELSAN) has produced a new identification friend or foe (IFF) system
for Turkish jet fighters, warships and submarines and the new software,
contrary to the older, US-made version, does not automatically identify
Israeli planes and ships as friends, a news report said on Tuesday.
The new IFF has already been installed in
Turkish F-16s and is expected to be installed in all Navy ships and
submarines, the report, published in Turkish daily Star, said. It will
be fully operational when it is installed in all military planes,
warships and submarines.

The F-16 jet fighters, purchased from the US,
came with pre-installed IFF software that automatically identifies
Israeli fighters and warships as friends, disabling Turkish F-16s from
targeting Israeli planes or ships. ASELSAN-made IFF will allow Turkish
military commanders to identify friends and foes on the basis of
national considerations.
Turkey was unable to make modifications to the
friend or foe identification codes in US-made F-16s, while Israel was
given a different version of the software allowing Israeli authorities
to make modifications. Israel was also authorized to view the version
given to Turkey, according to Star.
The report comes amid a severe crisis in ties
with former ally Israel. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan set the
stage for a possible naval confrontation with Israel in the Eastern
Mediterranean, saying last week that Turkish military ships will escort
civilian ships carrying aid to Gaza, under an Israeli blockade since
A news report on Monday said three frigates
were to be sent to the Eastern Mediterranean to protect aid ships from a
possible interception by Israeli warships. The frigates, according to
the report, will get as close as 100 meter to any Israeli military ship
if those ships are outside of Israeli territorial waters.

Star also suggested that the new IFF system
could be linked to a series of suspicious suicides in ASELSAN. Three
ASELSAN engineers committed suicide in 2006 and 2007, but the media
speculated that the engineers might have been murdered given the
families’ testimonies that the suicides seem to come out of the blue
with no warning signs. The report added that all three engineers had
worked on the new IFF system to be used for F-16 fighters.