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Israel excluded from intl air exercises in Turkey


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ANKARA (AFP): Israel was absent from the participants of international aerial exercises that the Turkish army said would be conducted at an air force base in central Turkey.

The exclusion came as confirmation of Ankara's decision to scrap three planned military exercises with Israel after last Monday's raid on aid ships bound for Gaza that killed nine Turks.

The Turkish general staff said in a statement Sunday that the "Anatolian Eagle" aerial exercises would be held at the base in the central province of Konya on June 7-18 with the participation of planes from the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Spain and NATO.

The statement on the army's Internet site did not specifically say Israel was excluded.

Israel had been a regular participant in "Anatolian Eagle" until last year when it was shunned over what Turkish leaders then described as a growing public opinion against Israel's war on the Gaza Strip in late 2008 and early 2009.

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