Turkey and the U.K. have inked a defense cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening ties between their defense industries and fostering joint training and exercises.
The pact comes in the backdrop of Turkey's quest for engine technology for its domestically developed fighter jet, KAAN, after a previous deal with Rolls Royce fell apart due to disputes over intellectual property and export restrictions.
The agreement, signed today by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and Turkish Minister of National Defense Yaşar Güler, outlines a collaborative framework to enhance the security and prosperity of both nations while contributing to national, regional, and international security.
Güler said, "We want to develop our existing cooperation with the United Kingdom in many areas, especially our National Combat Aircraft KAAN, and explore new avenues, such as Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes."
The collaboration will entail closer coordination between the defense industries of both countries, potential joint training exercises in the Mediterranean, and an exploration of security support in North Africa and the Middle East. Discussions also addressed the imperative of de-escalation in the Middle East.
Expressing gratitude for Turkey's role in facilitating the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, the Defence Secretary emphasized a shared commitment to supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression.
The meeting marked the Defense Secretary's first face-to-face encounter with his Turkish counterpart. They acknowledged progress in Sweden's accession to NATO and expressed hope for swift Turkish ratification through parliament.
In May 2022, Turkey submitted a request for proposals to Rolls-Royce for a co-production deal for the engine of its indigenous TF-X fighter jet. Turkish officials, including Ismail Demir and Air Force Commander Gen. Hasan Küçükakyüz, await Rolls-Royce's assessment and response. Emphasizing the importance of local production and intellectual property rights, Demir had back then stated that previous issues with Rolls-Royce have been resolved, signaling a willingness for collaboration.