Turkey unaffected by int'l defence industry embargoes
By Burak Dogan
The U.S, France, the UK and Germany have tried every way to stop the Turkish defence industry, which has made great strides over the past 20 years.
Some countries did not sell products despite the agreements, some blocked the export license permission, and some confiscated the goods at the customs. Turkey, on the other hand, continued on its way by overcoming the obstacles one by one.
These opinions were voiced at a meeting titled “The Rise of the Turkish Defence Industry and Embargoes” organized by the Defence Technologies Engineering and Trade Inc. (STM) Thinktech Center.
The Turkish Defence Industry Presidency, ROKETSAN, ASELSAN, BAYKAR, METEKSAN, HAVELSAN and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), institutions, organizations and some 23 experts from universities attended the meeting.
Speaking about Turkey's defence industry, the participants gave striking examples about the embargoes. STM Marine Projects Group Manager Mehmet Selahattin Deniz stated that there are different types of embargoes against Turkey.
Deniz stressed that countries such as France, the UK and Germany avoided providing certain defence products to Turkey by delaying the export license permits. The permissions, which were used to take two months to be issued, were delayed for 10 months, he added.
Moreover, Germany confiscated the brackets of the shaft system for MILGEM (warship), at the customs during the transition from England to Germany. They confiscated them because the products belonged to a system in Turkey, Deniz said.
Defence Industries specialist Mete Arslan said that the U.S. not only avoids selling the F-35s (fighter jet) to Turkey but also puts an embargo on certain materials and sub-components that ASELSAN buys from the U.S.
“Export permits, which were previously taken in three or six months, extended up to one year. Because of the embargoes, maybe at a certain point, we will be unable to get them," he said.
In addition, Arslan stated that some of the equipment in the Meltem aircraft project belonged to the French company Thales and the company refused to provide the necessary support. Currently, there are problems with the integration of the project, he added.
ASELSAN General Manager Advisor Ali Riza Kilic stated that Sweden also imposes an embargo on Turkey using the Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions as an excuse.
Kilic added that XYLINX, one of the world's leading integrated circuit manufacturers, is using the operation in Azerbaijan as an excuse, to stop selling defence industry products to Turkey.
"This actually has nothing to do with CAATSA, but it is the result of the companies' own policies,” he stressed.
According to the report, the prevention efforts were overcome with the domestic production mobilization initiated by the Presidency of Defence Industries. Only in 2020, priority products were determined and announced, and companies that were interested in the defence field were invited for interviews. Around 900 local companies applied. At the end of the preliminary examinations, orders for 131 products were given to local companies. Some 400 products were nationalized with the efforts of Turkish engineers.
Former TAI General Manager Muharrem Dortkasli noted that they faced obstacles in the modernization processes as well when the company invited Israelis to do the C130 aircraft modernization.
Defence Industries Naval Vehicles Department Head Alper Kose gave an example of the products that were tried to be prevented and nationalized.
“We were going to use the U.S-made Mk 41 as the vertical launch system on the MILGEM fifth ship. However, no export permit was issued. The strange thing is they never said 'We don't give', they kept it busy. In addition, even if an export permit is issued, sometimes they still do not give it. The country from which the fire control radar was supplied had not yet placed an embargo, but we were waiting. For this reason, we started working without waiting for the embargo. As a result, ASELSAN developed its own Fire Control Radar AKREP-D,” he said.
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