[EXCERPTS] DoD News Briefing

Thursday, May 21, 1998 - 1:30 p.m. (EDT)
Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD (PA) 


Q: I was told that Turkey and Israel were developing a new antiballistic missile system, and that Arrow program with DoD approval. Is it correct?

A: I don't believe we've received any information from either Turkey or Israel that that's the case. Our arrangement with Israel is that they would have to request permission from us in order to engage in a joint program with another country. They have not sought such permission.

I think that we've made it clear in the past, though, to both Turkey and Israel that we encourage strategic cooperation and that theater missile defense might be one area in which they would cooperate, but we have no evidence that they are.

Q: DoD and DoS legal experts claim that the U.S. participation in the Turkish/Israel alliance is illegal, citing the U.S. noted to the point that the contracting party named Turkey against the territorial integrity of your ally Greece. Could you please say something if that is true. And if Greece is entitled to obtain a copy of this agreement, including the classified parts, in order to avoid any misunderstanding from this alliance.

A: First of all, I'm not aware that there is an alliance between Turkey and Israel.

Q: How do you (inaudible)?

A: I think they've cooperated in one joint exercise and they've agreed to discuss areas in which they can cooperate together strategically, but I'm not sure that constitutes a formal alliance. That's something that they would have to answer that I'm not prepared to answer.

Q: As far as your participation, how would you describe?

A: We participate with a range of countries in the area in military exercises. We have strong defense relationships with Greece and with Turkey and with Israel and with Egypt, and a number of countries in the Mediterranean area, and we have tried to maintain those relationships in a productive, even-handed manner.