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23 October 2017
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OpinionUkraine - Turkey: prospects of defense cooperation

Ukraine and Turkey have signed several memoranda on cooperation in the defense sector. However, the signing of memoranda is rather a political and diplomatic move yet to become the base for specific agreements, which will set the deadlines and define the share of contribution of both sides.

Turkey today is one of Ukraine’s potentially important partners in a number of bilateral projects that are of particular interest for the two countries. First, it’s projects in aerospace industry such as cooperation between Antonov design bureau and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) on the joint manufacture of regional and cargo aircraft. There’s also cooperation expected in the development of UAVs, which Ukraine badly needs in view of a certain technology gap.

Secondly, it’s projects related to armored vehicles, especially regarding the potential use of Ukrainian tank engines in the Turkish Altay main battle tanks.

Thirdly, there’s manufacturing of ammunition, which also sees prospects of cooperation in the extremely relevant areas of artillery ammunition, detonators and certain types of shells. There are capacities for the production of propellants and other things that can be integrated with the Turkish proposal to manufacture certain products, especially artillery ammunition. This provides for the use of Ukraine’s new defense capacities that can be created to this end.

There are projects related to armored vehicles, especially regarding the potential use of Ukrainian tank engines in the Turkish Altay main battle tanks.

It is important to note that Turkey gained great progress in the development of component framework that is independent of the Americans or Europeans. In fact, it allows us to implement more complex technological projects using the technology that Turkey obtains.

Another important area is interaction in communications sphere. Today there remain misunderstandings between defense ministries of Ukraine and Turkey over the use of Turkish radio equipment to equip Ukraine’s mechanized or infantry brigades. The Turkish side offers a pretty good financial credit conditions for such projects and is ready to transfer technology to create modern generation stations. Such proposals for technology transfer to Ukraine have not been brought by the Americans or Israelis, both of whom are also trying to promote such radio stations for the Ukrainian army. Moreover, Israel is different from the Turkey because as the hostilities started in Donbas, Israel ceased delivery of UAVs Ukraine so badly needed.

So cooperation with Turkey looks promising. Although it also is quite complicated due to the fact that the increasing combat prowess of Turkey raises concerns of some developed countries. On the other hand, countries that are beginning to look down at Turkey are not too eager to assist Ukraine in developing its own defense industry. So I think today, a unique situation has emerged where cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey is profitable to both parties, taking into account similar risks that both countries are facing.

Serhiy Zgurets is a CEO at Defense Express information and consulting firm

Tags: Ukraine, Turkey, defense, cooperation

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