The source told the paper: "Turkey needs those vehicles in its fight against terror. What led to the recent crisis between Turkey and Israel was the delay in the delivery."The UAVs in question are the Israeli-made "Heron" surveillance drones.
According to the report, Turkey purchased 10 UAVs four years ago, for the price of $180 million from the Israeli Aerospace Industries and a private company.
The source said Turkish Chief of Staff Ilker Basbug expressed his concerns over the delay with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting last month.
The source said Erdogan had promised to back any sanctions the Turkish military would impose on Israel for the delay, adding, "The General Staff asked Israeli authorities one last time about the delivery of the Herons.
Israeli authorities refused to give an exact date and said they planned to deliver the vehicles by the end of 2009, whereupon the General Staff decided to cancel the international part of the exercises.”
However, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu admitted on Monday that Operation Cast Lead was the reason for the cancellation of the joint military exercise.
In response to a question by CNN, the minister said, "In the current situation, it is obvious that we condemn Israel's attitude."
Israel was displeased with the cancellation, and Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said on Tuesday that the Turks must come to their senses. "The deterioration in ties with Turkey in recent days is futile and even harmless. I hope the Turks come to their senses."
The minister added, "Turkey is an important ally, an important Muslim state with important strategic ties with Israel. This alliance is no less important to them than it is to us."