The raging diplomatic spat between Turkey and America could lead to the suspension of a $1.5 billion deal between Turkey and Pakistan for the sale of 30 Turkish-made T129 ATAK helicopter gunships.
“The problem is related with the US-made parts for which Turkish Aerospace Industries [TAI] will need US export licenses in order to materialize the deal,” a Turkish aerospace official said, quoted US-based media outlet Defense News.
The T129 ATAK helicopter gunships is being produced by TAI under license from the Italian-British company AgustaWestland. “The problem is related with the US-made parts for which TAI will need US export licenses in order to materialize the deal,” stated a Turkish aerospace official.
“Apparently, we shall need US export licenses to go ahead with the T129 deal,” a senior procurement official said. “This is not a technological or financial matter but is purely political at the moment.”
In July, Turkey and Pakistan signed an agreement on the sale of 30 Turkish T129 attack helicopters in what will be the biggest export deal of the Turkish defence industry. The deal encompasses the provision of logistics, spare parts, training and ammunition for the helicopters, which were to be delivered gradually over five years.
Meanwhile, a Turkish defense official said that Washington should not ‘punish Pakistan for their disagreements with Turkey’.
“This is a commercial deal [with Pakistan] with a country that has friendly relations with America. For Washington what matters should be the recipient of the systems, not who produces it and if relations are bumpy with the producer country,” the Turkish defense official said.
Earlier on Monday, the Government of Pakistan come out in support of Turkey over the country’s recent economic crisis, after the Turkish currency hit a record low of more than 7 to the US dollar.
The US sanctioned two Turkish officials in a spat over the continued detention of an American pastor in Turkey, and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel last week.
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