Israel's defense minister is downplaying Turkey's decision to cancel an international military exercise last week that was to include the Jewish state.

Ehud Barak said Wednesday the cancellation does not signal a long-term deterioration in Israeli-Turkish ties.

He called the decision part of "the ups and downs" of a relationship and stressed that the two countries' ties are "long-standing, important and strategic in nature."

The air drills in Turkey were to start Oct. 10 and include the United States, NATO and Israel.

Muslim Turkey's traditionally close ties with Israel have cooled since the Israel-Hamas Gaza war in January.