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Turkey says Israel wiretapped air missions

May 3, 2012 at 7:27 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, May 3 (UPI) -- Turkey alleges Israel wiretapped conversations by Turkish pilots on military training flights, forcing the authorities to encrypt them.

Turkish authorities said Israel wiretapped the conversations in order to glean intelligence and other details of the Turkish Air Force's training programs and flight strategies, the Turkish daily Today's Zaman said Wednesday, quoting a report published by the Haberturk daily.

The report does not say when the alleged incident occurred or whether it happened more than once. In order to thwart Israel's alleged attempts Turkish engineers are developing a software system for encoding and a project to encrypt communications aboard the fighter jets, the daily said.

Turkey downgraded its military, economic and political ties with Israel in response to the deaths of nine Turkish activists on board the Mavi Marmara boat in May 2010, which attempted to break the Israeli imposed blockade on Gaza. Israel refused to publicly apologize fore the activists' deaths saying Israeli commandos who raided the ship encountered severe violence.

There has been no Israeli response to the accusations.

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