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Turkey Denies Cancelling Military Drill Over Israeli Participation

Turkey's Foreign Ministry has denied that it canceled this week's international air force exercise over opposition to Israel's participation.

The ministry said Monday the cancellation was "not political," and urged Israeli officials to approach the situation with common sense.

Israeli military officials said Saturday Turkey canceled the Anatolian Eagle exercise because it wanted to exclude the Israeli air force from taking part in the drill. The military exercise also was scheduled to include U.S., Italian and NATO forces.

Turkey and Israel have had close ties, but their relations have been uneven since Israeli forces clashed with Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip at the beginning of this year.

Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized the Israeli campaign in the Palestinian territory.

Turkey has also played a role in trying to restart peace talks between Israel and Syria, but those contacts broke down last year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.