Turkey on target to strategic partnership with Ukraine

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Oct 22, 2020

While the Turkish navy was testing Russian-made S-400 missiles on the Black Sea coast Oct. 16, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was internet hosting his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Istanbul for talks on advancing protection trade collaboration. A contemporary set of accords signed on the assembly underscore how Turkey’s protection ties with Ukraine have flourished in recent times towards the backdrop of its uneasy relationship with Russia that has alternated between cooperation and rivalry.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Erdogan stated, “Turkey sees Ukraine as a key country for the establishment [of] stability, security, peace and prosperity in the region.” Zelensky stated the agreements paved the way in which for “new opportunities.” Cooperation within the protection trade, he added, is “important for developing our strategic partnership.” 

The two leaders’ remarks can hardly be downplayed as diplomatic platitudes. Ukraine right this moment stands out as Turkey’s chief associate in a collection of essential navy applied sciences reminiscent of turbo prop and diesel engines, avionics, drones, anti-ship and cruise missiles, radar and surveillance techniques, house and satellite tv for pc applied sciences, robotic techniques, lively and passive armor safety techniques and rocket engines and steering techniques. Technological cooperation between the 2 sides has dramatically elevated over the previous two years, laying the bottom for a techno-scientific alliance with far-reaching implications for the geopolitical stability of energy within the Black Sea basin. 

A milestone 2018 deal on Ukraine’s buy of Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones set the stage for an increasing cooperation and had a trust-boosting impact between two nations. According to a Turkish protection trade professional who carefully follows the matter, Turkish and Ukrainian corporations are presently engaged on round 50 joint protection tasks.

Many in Ankara consider the three way partnership between Baykar Makina, the producer of the Bayraktar drones, and Ukrspecexport, Ukraine’s state-owned arms buying and selling firm, will lastly resolve the Turkish protection trade’s long-running shortcomings in engine manufacturing. 

In January, Kyiv hosted the seventh Turkey-Ukraine protection trade cooperation assembly, one other landmark occasion that paved the way in which for the switch of technical data between the 2 sides to create synergy on essential navy applied sciences. 

Erdogan’s go to to Ukraine in February and his choice to increase $40 million to Ukraine in help of analysis and improvement on engine applied sciences got here as one other enhance to bilateral ties within the protection area.

During the go to, the 2 sides opened a contemporary chapter of cooperation: house and intelligence satellite tv for pc applied sciences. Ukraine agreed to switch technical data to Turkey to spice up Turkey’s fledgling house company and a satellite tv for pc analysis and improvement lab at Roketsan, Turkey’s main state-owned producer of missile and rocket engines and satellites.

In late August, Oleg Urusky, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister accountable for strategic industries, paid a go to to Ankara that marked one other turning level. The partnership between the 2 nations advanced into an alliance in essential protection applied sciences, involving the sale of a couple of quarter of the shares of Ukraine’s engine producer Motor Sich to Turkish companies, coupled with phrases relating to know-how switch, Turkey’s sale to Ukraine of surface-to-sea Atmaca anti-ship missiles with a spread of 200 kilometers (124 miles) — a improvement that may change the geostrategic stability within the Black Sea area on the expense of Russia if each Ukraine and Turkey deploy these techniques on their coastlines — and Ukraine’s buy of Aselsan-made radar-surveillance and communication techniques to change tanks and mine-resistant automobiles.

Urusky and the pinnacle of Turkey’s protection trade company, Ismail Demir, signed a deal laying the bottom for cooperation, together with the switch of technical data, on house and satellite tv for pc applied sciences, the event of long-range cruise missiles, Ukrainian help for jet engine improvement in Turkey’s TFX fighter jet mission, launching a joint long-range drone program and additional cooperation alternatives for Turkey’s state-owned TUSAS and Roketsan companies.

During Zelensky’s Oct. 16 go to, the 2 sides mentioned Ukrainian know-how switch to Roketsan’s house analysis and improvement heart, a concrete step enabling partnership in essential engine and house applied sciences and the way Ukraine may additionally assist in overcoming the protracted engine downside in Turkey’s Altay nationwide tank mission, together with the prospect of Ukraine supplying the diesel engine and different parts of the primary batch of tanks. 

Meanwhile, Turkey wants a brand new plane to ramp up its navy transport fleet, which incorporates getting old planes such because the C-160s. Turkey’s current navy involvement in Libya and different battle zones has underscored a urgent want for a jet engine-powered airlifter and Ukraine’s AN-178 plane is being thought of as an choice.

According to Turkish sources educated of the matter, the Turkish aspect formally reiterated its need to develop a joint intelligence satellite tv for pc with Ukraine throughout Zelensky’s go to. Turkey’s state-controlled navy software program developer Havelsan and Ukraine’s largest protection holding firm Ukroboronprom have already signed a deal to cooperate within the manufacturing of satellite tv for pc know-how. 

The two sides additionally started discussions on the prospect of joint ship upkeep and even Ukraine’s buy of Turkish MILGEM-type frigates and gunboats as a part of efforts to rejuvenate the getting old Ukrainian navy, in response to the sources. 

For Turkey, strategic partnership with Ukraine guarantees a means out out enduring snags in its protection dealings with Western companions, together with difficulties in securing technical data and joint manufacturing in addition to bans on exports to 3rd nations on the subject of navy merchandise manufactured with international inputs. Hence, Turkey hopes to achieve the home manufacturing of essential navy applied sciences and achieve a free hand in exports. 

Bilateral cooperation within the protection trade area would possibly result in joint navy workout routines and coaching enhancing the interoperability of the Turkish and Ukrainian militaries — a prospect that might alter the geostrategic stability within the Black Sea area. Moscow is likely preserving a detailed eye on the rising Turkish-Ukrainian rapprochement.