Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO
Israel is set to participate in NATO activities despite opposition from Turkey. Until the end of 2012, Israel was considered a NATO partner and as such participated in the organization's seminars, exercises and training.
The approval of Israel's wider involvement in the Alliance's military activities was granted following Turkey's request to station NATO Patriot anti-missile systems along Turkey's 900-kilometer border with crisis-torn Syria. Israel's participation in the project has been considered a great asset.
"At the last minute – and I think it was dependent on the Patriots – it was approved," said an Israeli official.
It is believed that the approval is used as a leverage to encourage Ankara to improve its ties with Jerusalem. Relations between the two have deteriorated over past years especially after the 2010 incident in which an Israeli raid on a flotilla off the coast of Gaza killed nine Turkish citizens.