Erdogan accused Israel on Wednesday of 'disloyalty' in bilateral agreements in the defence-industry area [Reuters]

Israel's defence ministry has rejected Turkish claims that it lacks "trade ethics", saying it was still fixing drone parts that were not delivered on schedule.

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had accused Israel of lacking "trade ethics" in bilateral military contracts.

"Turkey and Israel have conducted security transactions for years and despite the current developments, there are still unfinished transactions between the two countries," a statement from the Israeli defence ministry said on Thursday.

"One of these unfinished transactions is the renovation of parts for the drones. These engines are in a process of remodelling and improvement and work on them has not yet ended."

Speaking on Wednesday, Erdogan said: "Israel has shown disloyalty in our bilateral agreements in the defence industry area," "For example, unmanned aerial vehicles were purchased and they were sent back for further maintenance. [The Israelis] are still delaying the delivery. Is this moral?"

Turkey and Israel signed a deal in 2005 for the supply of the unmanned aircraft, which Ankara uses in its secuirity operations.

Deteriorating ties

Once-close relations between the two countries deteriorated last week when Turkey expelled Israeli diplomats and "totally suspended"defence, trade and military ties with Israel over the country's refusal to apologise for a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Israel expressed "regret" for the loss of the lives - of eight Turks and a US national of Turkish descent - but refused to apologise for what they say was "an act of self defence".

Tensions could further escalate between Israel and Turkey with Erdogan's upcoming tour of three Arab countries - Egypt, Libya and Tunisia - with a possible stop in Gaza.

Erdogan will embark on a four-day tour on September 12 to discuss "opportunities for co-operation" with the countries undergoing democratic transitions, Erdogan's office said on Wednesday.

The trip will be focused on boosting economic co-operation with and Turkish investments in the three countries, such as resuming building projects in Libya that were worth more than $15bn prior to the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

On Tuesday, Erdogan said he might pay a visit to Hamas-ruled Gaza, entering via neighbouring Egypt.

"We are talking with the Egyptians on this matter. A trip to Gaza is not finalised yet," he said.

Source: Agencies