US, Turkey to produce 600 Blackhawks

Turkey and the U.S. are seeking to sell some 500 “made in Turkey” Blackhawk helicopters to third countries, according to Francis J. Ricciardone, the U.S. ambassador to Ankara. “We will see over 600 Blackhawk helicopters, very high technology helicopters, produced here in Turkey. The great majority of these helicopters will go to third markets, third countries,” said Ricciardone during a Turkish-American business council lunch in Istanbul on May 4.

Around one hundred of these helicopters will be used by the Turkish Armed Forces, the ambassador confirmed. U.S. firm Sikorsky Aircraft won a $3.5 billion competition in April 2011 to lead the production of more than 100 large utility helicopters for Turkey over Italy’s AgustaWestland. The defense firm is mainly set to cooperate with local Alp Aviation in production. Along with Alp,
Ricciardone said some other important firms would also contribute to the making of the utility helicopters.

Sikorsky also became the first major international company to formally announce it would also seek to win the light utility helicopter contest in May last year. However, no exact date had been decided for the production of Blackhawks, said an Alp Aviation spokesperson.

Possible buyers were also not clear yet, public relations representative Melek Akdoğan told the Hürriyet Daily News during a phone interview on May 4.

Riccardione also said that the U.S. supported Turkey’s ambitious 2023 target to become one of the world’s largest 10 economies.

“Yesterday I met with the representatives of Turkey’s Economy Ministry and we had talks with more than 70 firms,” he said during his speech.

“The ministry found a chance to show them all the opportunities in Turkey,” he said.

The envoy also said that Turkey and the U.S. should cooperate more in the fields of defense, technology, information and aerospace, adding that the dynamism in the Turkish economy could be seen by the newly built roads, airports, residences and malls across the country.


Cobra to be produced in Kazakhstan

Cobra armored infantry fighting vehicle is expected to be produced in Kazakhstan, a close ally with whom Turkey shares cultural, historic and linguistic ties.

Otokar, producer of the Cobra IFV and Kazakhstan Engineering has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the production of an undisclosed number of Cobra vehicles. According to the agreement, a new joint venture will be formed and Otokar will provide technical assistance and know how in order to facilitate the assembly of the vehicles locally in Kazakhstan.

Cobra is a lightweight, armored, all terrain vehicle featuring a modular design that can be customized for a wide range of missions including amphibious operations. The vehicle has so far achieved significant export success and is operational in over ten countries.

SSM releases timetable for major projects

A prototype of T-129 Atak helicopters co-developed by Turkey and Italian AgustaWestland is seen during a test flight. First Atak is planned to be delivered by 2013.

Turkey’s Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry has disclosed a new five-year strategic plan, which finalizes completion dates for key projects including Turkish-made tanks, aircraft, satellites, destroyers, and helicopters, in a bid to lift the country’s defense industry into a higher league.

Altay, the Turkish-made tank project, will be complete by the end of 2015, the plan says. The first Turkish destroyer will be delivered in 2016. Atak, an attack helicopter, and Anka, an unmanned aerial vehicle, will be delivered in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

More than 280 projects have been carried out since 2011, according to the new 2012-2016 strategic plan. The total value of the contracts the undersecretariat signed last year was about $27.3 billion.

Top 10 Within Five Years

The plan envisages Turkey’s defense industry entering the top 10 worldwide within five years. The total turnover target for defense and aerospace industry exports for 2016 is $2 billion, out of an overall industry turnover of $8 billion, according to the plan.

Turkey will establish liaison offices in the Middle East, the Far East, the U.S., the Caucasus-Central Asia, and in Europe (EU-NATO). The undersecretariat will encourage collaboration between prime contractors, sub-industries, and small and medium enterprises, with universities and research institutions improving the technological base.

The Turkish government will support the establishment of testing and certification centers that meet international standards, in order to meet non-military and non-public sector demands. A land vehicle test center, a high-speed wind tunnel, an aerial vehicle flight test field, a missile systems test field, a satellite assembly center, and an integration and testing center will be among these facilities, according to the strategic plan.

Arms Projects Timetable

The strategic defense plan has laid out dates for the deadlines to manufacture the first domestically produced prototypes in the local defense industry.

  • A radar observation satellite will be ready by 2016.
  • The third-generation of the main battle tank, Altay, will be manufactured by the end of 2015.
  • The first destroyer will be delivered to the Turkish Navy by the end of 2016. Studies regarding development of a submarine will be completed by 2015.
  • Atak, a national attack helicopter, will be delivered by 2013. An all-purpose helicopter will be delivered by the end of 2016.
  • The mass production of a national infantry rifle starts in July.
  • Hürkuş, a training aircraft designed by TUSAŞ, and Anka, an unmanned aerial vehicle, will be delivered to the Turkish Air Force by the end of 2015 and 2014 respectively. And a jet motor prototype will be ready by 2016.
  • Long-range and medium-range anti-tank rocket systems will be in the inventory of the Turkish army by the end of 2012 and 2013 respectively.
  • Semi Active Laser Guided Missile, CIRIT, will be mass produced and integrated to ATAKs by the end of 2013.
  • Low and medium altitude air defense systems will be designed by the end of 2016.

MoD: Gov’t will not talk to terrorists

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz (Photo: Cihan)

Turkey will not let an armed organization roam freely in its mountains nor will it talk to terrorists, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz said on Monday in an interview with Today’s Zaman.

Speaking about the government’s recently announced shift of strategy in fighting terrorism, Yılmaz said, “Men with weapons in their hands will not roam our mountains.”

According to Yılmaz, the terrorist network Kurdistan Communities’ Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that includes the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its affiliated groups, including the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), as Turkish prosecutors claim, voices the demands of the men with guns. He said the government would like to see a democratic organization as the representatives of the people of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast.

The minister also dismissed claims that a large number of generals currently jailed as suspects in ongoing trials into alleged coup d’état attempts could hamper the fight against terror. “Our military has the ability to carry out any task it is assigned with success,” he said.

He also criticized the General Staff’s “accreditation” policies, which do not grant some newspapers access to its news conferences or facilities. Yılmaz said such a press accreditation classification could never be approved by his ministry. “We don’t think this is proper,” he said. He also noted his belief that the accreditation problem faced by some newspapers will be solved.

The minister in addition noted that as Turkey advances its fight against terrorists, there will be no compromises on fundamental rights and freedoms. However, he said, “As long as the terrorists are in the mountains, the people of the region can’t exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms as they should.”

The minister also offered an assessment of the Uludere incident, where 34 civilians crossing the border with Iraq back into Turkey after a day of trading with merchants on the other side of the border were killed in an airstrike by Turkish fighter jets in late December 2011. “It is an incident that should have never happened. It is the state’s duty to be able to tell a terrorist from a smuggler.”

On BDP’s criticism of army chief

Minister Yılmaz also responded to a question on criticisms directed at Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel by the BDP, after the army chief voiced his opposition to offering education in public schools in the Kurdish language. Yılmaz said the BDP has every right to criticize whoever it deems necessary within the democratic system, adding: “But expressions that go well beyond the boundaries of criticism and turn into outright insults are unacceptable. It is impossible to tolerate these or words or act as if they were never uttered.”

In January, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) started legal action against BDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş for his statements targeting Özel. Demirtaş had said that Özel “is not even a corporal” in his eyes, after the army chief said he was opposed to the use of Kurdish in public schools. “Even if your rank is general, you are a corporal in our [the BDP’s] eyes. Your value is just that. It does not matter for us whether it is a general or a corporal speaking. You have no value in our eyes,” the BDP leader said earlier in January.

Minister Yılmaz also shared his opinion on some of the ongoing trials into past coups d’état in Turkey. He said all of the military interventions of the past had been convicted in the collective conscience of the people. He also offered information on the recent number of applications filed by individuals who want to benefit from a scheme that allows them to pay TL 30,000 to shorten their military service to just 20 days. So far 18,973 applications have been made, earning the Treasury TL 444 million.

The minister gave information on the state of affairs in Turkey’s transition to a professional army. “Currently, 35 percent of the military — made up of NCOs, senior gendarmerie sergeants and senior sergeants in the military — are professional soldiers,” the minister said.

Changes planned in defense industry

The minister also said there were plans to reduce the number of direct purchases of defense industry equipment by the military, responding to criticism that defense companies such as TAI, Aselsan, Havelsan and Roketsan — which are all subsidiaries of the Foundation to Strengthen the Turkish Armed Forces (TSKGV) are not being managed well. “We are proud of the point at which our companies stand today. They need to be taken further; their competitive power needs to be increased. Only if this can be realized can these companies continue their existence. Most tenders are awarded directly, and this definitely undermines the competitive side of these companies. After this, we will minimize direct purchases from these companies and have them compete in tenders as suppliers.”


Ex-military Chief Faces Lifetime in Prison

An indictment against Başbuğ has been completed and forwarded to a court, seeking aggravated life imprisonment for the former military chief on coup charges.

General (Re.) Ilker Basbug commanded the Turkish Armed Forces from 2008 to 2010.

An indictment against former chief of General Staff retired Gen. İlker Başbuğ has been completed and forwarded to a court, seeking aggravated life imprisonment for the former military chief on coup charges.

Başbuğ was put behind bars by an İstanbul court after he testified last month as a suspect in an investigation into an alleged Internet campaign to discredit Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Turkey has seen some retired generals jailed in coup cases over the past few years, but Gen. Başbuğ, who retired in 2010, is the highest-ranking officer to be caught up so far.

Başbuğ was placed in Silivri Prison where most coup suspects are jailed.

The indictment, submitted to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court accuses Başbuğ of “establishing or administering a terrorist organization” and “seeking to unseat the government of the Republic of Turkey by force.”

In his defense, Başbuğ denied all charges against him.

“The person who is accused of these charges is the 26th chief of General Staff of the Turkish Republic. I think it is important to note this for history. As the chief of General Staff, I was the commander of the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK]. The TSK is one of the most respected and strongest armed forces in the world. Accusing somebody who led such an army of establishing and administering a terrorist organization is really tragicomic,” he said.

The investigation in which Başbuğ is implicated concerns allegations that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) set up 42 websites to disseminate anti-government propaganda. Dozens of suspects, including Başbuğ, are currently accused of having started an online propaganda campaign against the AK Party aiming to instill fear in the public that the government is trying to instate a religious order based on Islamic law.

The the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court will now decide on whether to accept the indictment or not.


Turkey to increase ballistic missiles’ range

Missiles with a range of 2,500 kilometers are a realistic target according to Professor Yücel Altınbaşak, head of Turkey’s State Scientific Research Institute. However, analysts remain uncertain as to Turkey’s capacity or need to achieve this goal.

J-600T Yıldırım ballistic missile on an F-600T launching vehicle, based on a MAN 26.372 6x6 truck.

Turkey aims to build ballistic missiles with a range of 2,500 kilometers within the next two years, Turkish officials have said, but analysts remain uncertain as to whether the country needs, or can even achieve, such a capability.

Professor Yücel Altınbaşak, head of Turkey’s State Scientific Research Institute (TÜBİTAK), recently told reporters that the decision to build the ballistic missiles was made at a recent meeting of the High Board of Technology and in line with a request from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Altınbaşak said TÜBİTAK had already produced and delivered a missile with a range of 500 kilometers to the Turkish military and added that the missile had displayed a mere five-meter deviation from its target in field tests. In the next phase of the program this year, TÜBİTAK will first test the 1,500-kilometer missile before heading for the final goal of 2,500 kilometers.

Altınbaşak said building missiles with a range of 2,500-kilometer was a “realistic target for Turkey.” But analysts voiced doubts about Turkey’s ballistic ambitions.

“TÜBİTAK already has the technology to build the 185-kilometer stand-off-munitions (SOM) missiles. It may have reached the 500-kilometer range recently by diminishing the payload or by some other modifications. It is still dubious, however, how the tests for 500 kilometers went unnoticed globally,” a missile technology expert said.

A Middle East political expert said Turkey’s decision to produce cruise and ballistic missiles may mark a change in threat and security design perceptions.

“Why would the Turks need these missiles? Where will they use them? Against which threats? It is also intriguing that Turkey, which seeks a modern air force with deterrent firepower, is going along the path many rogue states with no modern air force capabilities have gone,” the specialist said.

Since 1997, Turkey has been a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which was established in 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, and the United States.

The MTCR was created in order to curb the spread of unmanned delivery systems for nuclear weapons, specifically delivery systems that could carry a minimum payload of 500 kilograms a minimum of 300 kilometers.

Experts agree that the MTCR has been successful in helping to slow or stop several ballistic missile programs; Argentina, Egypt and Iraq abandoned their joint Condor II ballistic missile program, while Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Taiwan also shelved or eliminated missile or space launch vehicle programs.

Some Eastern European countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, destroyed their own ballistic missiles to – in part – better their chances of joining MTCR.

But there is consensus that the MTCR regime has its limitations. India, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan (all non-members) continue to advance their missile programs. All four countries, with varying degrees of foreign assistance, have deployed medium-range ballistic missiles that can travel more than 1,000 kilometers and are exploring missiles with much greater ranges. Similarly, Iran has supplied missile production items to Syria.

The missile expert said Turkey’s announcement for ballistic missile production may ring alarm bells in some of the countries which produce “the ingredients” for these missiles.
“From now on Turkey may find it increasingly difficult to have access to some of the components it will need to achieve its missile ambitions,” the expert said. “Some countries may think it more appropriate to introduce limitations to the Turkish purchase of some technology.”

 By Umit Enginsoy, HDN

Turkey threatens intervention into Iraq

Relations between the Turkish and Iraqi governments have deteriorated sharply. In a speech to parliament on Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the head of a Sunni Islam-based religious party, accused his Iraqi counterpart, Nouri al-Maliki, the leader of a Shiite-coalition, of promoting sectarian violence against the Sunni minority in Iraq.

Erdogan warned: “Maliki should know that if you start a conflict in Iraq in the form of sectarian clashes it will be impossible for us to remain silent. Those who stand by with folded arms watching brothers massacre each other are accomplices to murder.”

Erdogan was responding to complaints by Maliki that Turkey has been interfering in Iraqi domestic politics through its support for the largely Sunni-based Iraqiya coalition, which is engaged in a fierce power struggle with the government in Baghdad.

The implications of Erdogan’s statement are unmistakable. They amount to a direct threat that Turkey will support an intervention into Iraq on the same pretext of “defending civilians” used to justify the NATO-led intervention to oust Gaddafi regime in Libya. In the case of Iraq, intervention would be justified with the allegation that Maliki is persecuting the country’s Sunnis.

The Turkish stance toward Maliki is inseparable from the broader US-backed drive to refashion geopolitical relations in the Middle East and, above all, to shatter the regional influence of Iran. US allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf state monarchies—all dominated by Sunni elites—have lined up with Washington against Shiite-ruled Iran. They are using inflammatory sectarian language to try to galvanise support for a policy that threatens to trigger a regional war.

The Syrian regime, which is a longstanding Iranian ally and based on an Allawite Shiite ruling stratum, has been targeted for “regime change.” The current Iraqi government, while it is the direct creation of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, is also viewed as unacceptable by the regional US allies. The Shiite factions forming the Maliki government have longstanding ties with the Iranian religious establishment. Maliki has refused to support an ongoing US military presence in Iraq or economic sanctions, let alone military aggression, against Syria and Iran.

Iraqiya, which was part of the ruling coalition, campaigned aggressively to weaken the political dominance of the Shiite parties in the lead-up to the withdrawal of US combat troops in December. Sunni leaders accused Maliki of reneging on an agreement to preside over a “national unity” government and pressured him to place the main security ministries under the direction of Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi.

Allawi, a secular Shiite, had been a long-time American collaborator before the US invasion and was installed by the US in 2004 as the “interim” prime minister of Iraq. He sanctioned the military repression of the Sunni population and atrocities such as the destruction of the largely Sunni city of Fallujah. Despite this history, he was adopted by the Sunni elites as their main representative after the effective collapse of the anti-occupation insurgency. His qualifications are his hostility to the Shiite religious parties, his anti-Iranian Arab nationalism and his close connections to Washington.

Attempts to elevate Allawi, with clear support from the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have suffered something of a shipwreck. Maliki and his Shiite-based Da’wa Party, which was repressed by the Sunni-dominated Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein, responded with a pre-emptive strike against the challenge to their grip on power.

Hundreds of ex-Baath Party members, particularly former senior military officers, have been rounded up and detained. Allawi alleged this month that more than 1,000 members of his and other parties opposed to Maliki had been arrested in recent months. He claimed they had been subjected to torture to extract false confessions of committing “terrorism.” There has been a growing number of indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas and religious events by suspected Sunni extremists. Last week, 34 men accused of terrorism were executed in a single day.

In the most high-profile case of alleged Sunni “terrorism,” the bodyguards of Iraqiya Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi—one of the country’s highest ranking politicians—were detained and allegedly tortured. They were paraded on national television in late December to accuse the Sunni leader of personally directing a sectarian death squad.

Hashemi has only escaped arrest by taking refuge in the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. He has been charged with crimes that carry a death sentence.

Maliki responded to a walkout of Iraqiya ministers from his cabinet by having their offices locked and stripping them of their political responsibilities. The Iraqi parliament has continued to sit despite a boycott by most Iraqiya members.

Last Friday, the Iraqiya deputy governor of the majority Sunni province of Diyala, who agitated last year for regional autonomy, was seized by secret police operating under Maliki’s command. He has been charged with “terrorist activities.”

The present crisis could rapidly lead to the eruption of civil war and potentially fracture Iraq along sectarian lines, drawing in other regional powers such as Turkey and Iran. The majority of the 300,000-strong Iraqi military are Shiites. While poorly trained and equipped, they have a degree of allegiance to Maliki’s government.

A confrontation is looming between the Maliki government and the autonomous Kurdish region in the north. Last week, a Shiite politician advocated an economic blockade of the Kurdish region unless Vice President Hashemi was handed over for trial. The Kurdish government has its own 200,000-strong armed forces.

Following the 2003 invasion, the US fostered sectarian divisions as a means of undermining the previous Baathist elite and blocking a unified resistance by ordinary working people against the occupation and collapse of living standards. Now the US is encouraging its regional allies to back the Sunni and Kurdish elites against the Maliki government, with reckless indifference for the rapidly escalating violence.

By James Cogan, WSWS

Turkey awaits key counterterrorism weapons

Turkey's T129 attack helicopter during flight tests.

The Turkish military is slated to acquire several weapons systems to use against terrorists from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) this year, one senior procurement official said last week.
Italy’s AgustaWestland and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) have been collaborating on building the T-129 attack helicopter, a Turkish version of the company’s A129 Mangusta International.

AgustaWestland is scheduled to deliver the first nine of a planned 59 helicopters to the military toward the end of 2012.

Turkish authorities then will assemble the required weapons systems on the platforms, and the nine helicopter gunships are expected to enter service in 2013, the official said.

Separately, the United States is expected to deliver three AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters early this year. The U.S. Congress approved the sale of these three choppers, worth $125 million, toward the end of 2012.

Additionally, TAI, Turkey’s state-owned aerospace powerhouse, is scheduled to deliver to the military three Anka Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles in 2012, to be used for reconnaissance purposes, the official said.

Turkey is already operating nine Israeli-made Heron MALE drones against the PKK. The United States has also deployed another four RQ-1 Predator MALE drones at Turkey’s southern İncirlik airbase to fly over PKK camps in northern Iraq and provide the Turkish military intelligence.

Additionally Turkey has requested to buy four RQ-1 Predator reconnaissance drones and two armed MQ-1 Reapers, but the U.S. has not responded to the request.

In addition to its MALE drone capabilities, the Turkish military operates scores of smaller drones.

Unmanned vehicles

TAI’s efforts to develop and produce the Anka have seen a delay of several years. “Attack helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles are among the most effective weapons against terrorists, and we will have an abundance of these weapons soon,” said one security official.

The PKK this year intensified terrorist attacks against Turkish military and civilian targets, causing a public outrage.

Separately, the U.S. Boeing is expected to deliver the first of a planned four spy planes to the Turkish Air Force in 2012. The program to manufacture the four Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft is worth more than $1.6 billion and is behind schedule a few years.

The Defense Industry Executive Committee, Turkey’s highest procurement agency, is also expected to select a foreign company in Turkey’s $4 billion long range air and missile defense system program. Among the candidates competing to build an air and missile defense system with Turkish partners are U.S. companies Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, with their Patriot Air and Missile Defense System; Russian Rosoboronexport’s S-300; Chinese CPMIEC’s (China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp.) HQ-9; and European Eurosam’s SAMP/T Aster 30.

The Defense Industry Executive Committee’s members include Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Chief of the Turkish General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and Procurement Chief Murad Bayar.

Finally, the committee would select a national commercial shipyard which will manufacture the third through the eighth of the Milgem national corvettes. The first two corvettes were built at a military shipyard. The first corvette, the TCG Heybeliada, already has entered service in the Navy, and the second, the TCG Büyükada, has been put to sea for tests.


BUSINESS > Eurocopter seeks Turkish comeback

Eurocopter, the German-French-Spanish firm, joins AgustaWestland and Sikorsky in competition for Turkey’s multibillion dollars worth light helicopter bid.

A Eurocopter EC135 owned by the Iraqi air force is seen during a training near Baghdad on Nov 25. AFP photo
A Eurocopter EC135 owned by the Iraqi air force is seen during a training near Baghdad on Nov 25. AFP photo

A top European helicopter-maker has expressed hopes that it will become Ankara’s key foreign partner in a Turkish program to design, develop and manufacture hundreds of light utility helicopters.
Eurocopter is looking to help in making both military and civilian helicopters that are worth more than $1 billion.
“We want to partner with Turkey in one of their top programs,” said Thomas Hein, Eurocopter’s vice president for sales. “The light utility helicopter program is a key project.”
Light utility helicopters are choppers that weigh between 4,500 kg and 5,500 kg. “We are developing our product range and we would like to collaborate with Turkey to produce a light-weight chopper from scratch,” Hein said.
U.S.-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation has already announced that it will also seek to win Turkey’s light utility helicopter race. Italy-based AgustaWestland is also expected to join the competition.
Under two multibillion-dollar contracts, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is collaborating with AgustaWestland to produce 59 T-129 attack helicopters and with Sikorsky Aircraft to make more than 100 T-70 utility helicopters. One of these helicopters weighs about 10,000 kg.
To meet its heavy-lifting helicopter needs, Ankara signed a contract worth nearly $400 million this year with American manufacturer Boeing to buy six CH-47 Chinook choppers.
Now the time has come for light utility helicopters, which are the last major chopper type Turkey wants to produce with a foreign company.
“In my personal view, all major helicopter producers in the world will seek this cooperation with Turkey,” Hein said.
Formed in 1992 through the merger of the helicopter divisions of France’s Aérospatiale and Germany’s DASA, Eurocopter sold 20 AS 532 Cougar utility helicopters to Turkey’s military and then worked with TAI to produce another 30.
Since 2006, however, the company’s presence has faded in Turkey after not participating in any Turkish helicopter deals. Yesterday’s remarks by Hein, who is responsible for ties with Ankara, effectively means that Eurocopter is back in the Turkish market.
“There also are major plans to export the Turkish helicopter. The product needs to competitive, mainly in Asia,” Hein said. “We are very open to cooperation with Turkey, and are impressed by its industrial development and growth.”
Although mainly a defense project, the light utility program will also manufacture many private and commercial choppers. However, the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM), Turkey’s procurement agency, has not formally announced the program.
The Turkish government is expected to make a selection of a foreign partner in 2013. As a result, the total number of choppers to be made and the cost of the program are not yet clear although the deal is expected to exceed $1 billion.
Although Eurocopter itself has developed many helicopter types in several categories, SSM is reportedly insisting on the development of a new type. Hein said Eurocopter was ready to produce a new light helicopter with Turkey.
Eurocopter is part of the European defense giant EADS, which includes France, Germany and Spain.





Ümit Enginsoy

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

Turkish prime minister outlines paid military exemption conditions

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkish nationals of 30 years of age or older will be able to fulfill their military obligation by paying 30,000 Turkish Liras.

Hürriyet photo
Hürriyet photo

Those who pay for military service will also be exempted from the 21-day basic military training, said Erdoğan, speaking at his Justice and Development Party (AKP) group meeting in Ankara today.

Erdoğan said Turkish nationals who have worked for at least three years abroad would also benefit from paid military service exemption in exchange for 10,000 euros, adding that they would be exempted from the 21-day basic military service as well.

There will also be no age limit for Turks working abroad, which was 38 years of age earlier.

The paid military service draft bill was sent to the Cabinet for deliberation and the designation of payment methods.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency