Turkey's relations with Syria, on the other hand, have always been tense, shaped as they were by the historical conflict over the Levant and the Turkish annexation of the province of Iskenderun (Alexandretta, later renamed Hatay) in the 1930s. In the latter half of the 20th century, tensions continued to flare periodically between the two countries, as was the case during the period of Egyptian-Syrian unification (1958-1961) and when Syria's support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) triggered a Turkish threat of war against Syria towards the end of president Hafez Al-Assad's rule. In addition, Turkey's interventions in northern Iraq in pursuit of PKK fighters and its construction of dams along the Tigris and Euphrates occasioned other flare-ups in the 1990s. An interesting episode in the matrix of Turkish- Syrian/Turkish-Israeli relations involves the Israeli bombing of a site in Deir El-Zor, where Israel claimed Syria was constructing a nuclear reactor. According to recently revealed details on the incident, the Israeli aircraft that bombed that site flew through Turkish airspace. If so, it is one of the remnants of the Turkish-Israeli military ties that were crowned by the 1996 strategic cooperation agreement between them. Still, somehow I doubt that the Turkish military had informed the JDP that it had permitted the Israeli bombers to use Turkish airspace, if, indeed, it had given this authorisation.
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