A400M risk of expulsion from Turkey raised after withdrawal from global F-35 program


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Abdullah Bozkurt / Stockholm

A number of restrictive measures and sanctions imposed by NATO allies on Turkey and its quest to procure weapons and defense equipment due to growing divergences from the alliance’s goals have raised concerns as to the risk of expulsion from Turkey from the A400M program.

The opposition expressed unease over Turkey’s possible expulsion from the A400M program by comparing it to Turkey’s withdrawal from the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter consortium in which the ErdoÄŸan government had invested $ 1.4 billion. dollars and expected to generate $ 11 billion in exports. income.

“If the same [similar to the F-35 removal] were to occur with the A400M, and they [Turkey’s partners] to say one day: “We have expelled you”, would be the way to [international] arbitration be clear [for recouping losses]? ”asked Utku Çakırözer, a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). a revised A400M program agreement on November 30 prior to its approval.

He asked why the government is not using arbitration to recover the payment it made to the F-35 program and whether similar issues could arise with the A400M as well.

The A400M was designed in 2003 and manufactured by Airbus as an advanced military transport aircraft to increase the airlift capacity of participating states and replace the Lockheed Martin C-130 and Boeing C-17. The contract was signed by Belgium, Great Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey. The Joint Armament Cooperation Organization (OCCAR) coordinates the purchase and delivery of A400M aircraft.

Amendment n ° 1 to the A400M program increasing France’s financial commitment:

A400M_Programme_Board_Decision

The program, which has encountered several problems since its inception and was bailed out in 2010, has been revised, with several major participating States increasing their contributions to its budget. The changes have been submitted to the Turkish Parliament for debate and approval, as the legislative branch has the power to approve international treaties on behalf of Turkey.

Turkey is not a member of OCCAR but participates in the A400M program in the design, manufacturing and logistical support phases. Many parts of the A400M were manufactured in Turkey by the state-owned Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAÅž) and its subcontractor Selex.

Turkey has a 7 percent share in the A400M program, and TUSAÅž manufactures 405 parts for the aircraft. Some of the parts produced in Turkey include the front and rear center fuselage, rear cone, flaps, airbrakes, doors, lighting systems, sewage and clean water drainage systems, and wiring. The parts are exported to facilities in Germany and the UK before final assembly in Spain. Turkey also has two maintenance sites to support repair and overhaul of A400M aircraft.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar is seen visiting an A400M aircraft hangar in February 2021.

Turkey has accepted delivery of nine of the 10 A400M planes on order, with the last scheduled to arrive in March 2022. It has so far generated more than $ 500 million in revenue from the sale of manufactured parts for the aircraft and is expected to earn nearly $ 1 billion once the order for the total number of 186 A400Ms is fulfilled, according to Abdurrahman Åžeref Can, head of the aeronautics department in the presidency of the defense industry (SSM), who briefed lawmakers.

Turkey has paid around 100 million euros for each aircraft it has received, and the program has so far produced 118 aircraft, said Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran, stressing that Turkey has benefited a discount because it is a partner of the program. Turkey’s contribution to the program budget amounts to € 1.3 billion, or a budget share of 5.56%. Although Germany, France and Belgium all increased their contribution to the program budget, Turkey’s remained the same.

Amendment n ° 3 to the A400m program, which increases Belgium’s financial commitment:

A400M_Programme_Board_Decision3

Regarding the F-35 fighter jets, Kıran said technical talks with the US government are underway for Turkey to recoup the investment it made in the program and for legal experts to review all options, including submitting the United States to international arbitration if necessary. The first round of talks with a US delegation was held in Ankara on October 27, 2021 and the second will take place in January 2022.

Turkey has come under increased pressure from its allies, in particular the United States, Canada and Germany, who have announced restrictions and sanctions against Turkey to varying degrees due to Turkey’s proximity to Turkey. Russia, NATO’s arch enemy, and the use of weapons by the ErdoÄŸan government in cross-border operations. conflict zones.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and General Chief of Staff Yaşar Güler are seen in an A400M cockpit in May 2019.

The United States designated SSB as a sanctioned entity in December 2020. Sanctions prohibit the granting of US loans, credits, and export licenses and authorizations for any goods or technology transferred to SSB, as well as loans or credits from US financial institutions totaling more than $ 10 million. in any 12 month period. The US government would also oppose any third party engagement with SSB and attempt to block any loan that might be granted to SSB by international financial institutions.

In the meantime, Canada has also banned the export of critical parts for the production of armed drones to Turkey, and Germany has stopped supplying engines for Turkish-made artillery and tanks. In November 2021, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar revealed that the allies had also imposed an embargo on imports of dual-use goods for civilian purposes, fearing they could be used for military purposes.

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