Crisis with US may cost Turkey its historic helicopter export to Pakistan

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ANKARA, TURKEY - JULY 13 : A staff of Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TUSAS/TAI) works on a helicopter in Ankara, Turkey on July 13, 2018. Turkey and Pakistan signed a deal for the sale of 30 amount of T129 ATAK helicopters, according to the Turkish Defense Industries Undersecretariat (SSB). Turkey becomes the fourth country to export Combat Helicopters after United States, Russia and France. The T129 ATAK Multirole Combat Helicopters are actively used by Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish Gendarmerie crews. Aytac Unal / Anadolu Agency

A crisis in relations between Ankara and Washington has put Turkey’s historic defense export to Pakistan of 30 combat helicopters worth $1.5 billion in danger since transfer of the technology used the engines in the aircraft depends on securing a permission from the US State Department, the Hürriyet daily reported on Saturday.

According to the report, if Turkey cannot manage to obtain permission for the technology transfer to a third party by November, then it would need to request an extension for delivery in the agreement with Pakistan, upon which Pakistani authorities could reconsider the future of the deal.

Sources from the Turkish Defense Ministry told Hürriyet they are concerned that the crisis between the US and Turkey over American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was charged with affiliation with “terrorist” groups and put under house arrest after almost two years of imprisonment, could wreck the deal with Pakistan.

The deal between Turkey and Pakistan was signed on July 13, foreseeing the sale of 30 combat helicopters, called ATAK, manufactured by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to the Pakistani Ministry of Defense.

This is the biggest single export in the history of the Turkish defense industry, officials said.

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