Turkey makes important statement over military helicopters deal with Pakistan

Turkey makes important statement over military helicopters deal with Pakistan


Turkey’s top defence industry official said on Tuesday any US sanctions against Ankara would not affect the country’s several existing projects, including a helicopter deal with Pakistan, but could impact other deals with Islamabad such as Pakistan Atak helicopter and Hurjet aircraft projects.

Ismail Demir, the head of Turkey’s Defence Industries Presidency (SSB) said that despite new US sanctions, the defence industry would continue to move forward. “We expect this [sanctions] not to affect our relationships too much,” told reporters after speaking to parliament.

The US on Monday imposed sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system. The sanctions, coming under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), target the SSB, including Demir, and three other officials.

Starting on January 20, the incoming US President Joe Biden administration may also bring changes in policy – positive or negative – and the US sanctions could also trigger sanctions from the EU, Demir said, speaking a day after the US announcement.

The SSB chief underlined that the sanctions should not affect existing projects, such as the T70 helicopter, but added that the Pakistan Atak helicopter and Hurjet aircraft projects would probably be affected.

The sanctions will slow down Turkish defence projects related to the US for a short period, but the Turkish defence industry would take advantage of this process and manage to take over production of all critical parts in the long term, he stressed.

“The development of the domestic industry will continue, perhaps even faster. In a sense, this [sanctions] will serve as a flare and a warning,” he said, underlining Turkey’s nearly 70-year NATO membership and Ankara’s relations with fellow members and the US in several areas.

In April 2017, when its protracted efforts to buy an air defense system from the US proved fruitless, Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire the S-400 shield. The US opposed their deployment, claiming they would expose next-generation F-35 jets to possible Russian subterfuge. - Anadolu Agency