(CNN) — The United States and its allies have indefinitely postponed a NATO exercise that was to start Monday in Turkey, U.S. officials said Sunday.
“We look at this as a postponement, not a cancellation,” said Deborah Guido, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
The Turkish government decided to change the list of participating countries and exclude Israel, according to Israel Defense Forces. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said only that “a technical matter,” not politics, prompted the delay.
The exercise — called Anatolian Eagle and held every few years to boost international aerial cooperation — was to run from Oct. 12-23.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained since Israel’s offensive into Gaza early this year. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who once was a top official in a now-banned Islamist political party, stormed out of the World Economic Forum in January in Davos, Switzerland, after accusing Israeli President Shimon Peres of killing children.
– CNN’s Ivan Watson contributed to this report.
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