Ministers Discuss Burgeoning Defense Ties Between Ankara, Islamabad
(Source: Anadolu Agency; issued June 03, 2016)
Turkey may have found its first export customer for the T-129 attack helicopter it developed from AgustaWestland’s A-129 Mangusta. The two countries are negotiating the possible sale to Pakistan of the T-129 as well as naval corvettes. (TAI photo)
ISLAMABAD --- Newly-appointed Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık and his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif met on June 3 in Islamabad to discuss bilateral defense cooperation.

“One of the most important issues between [the two countries] is a deal for T129 attack helicopters,” Işık said at a joint press conference after the meeting.

The deal for the sale of the T129s, a multi-role attack helicopter co-developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), will “further enhance our bilateral cooperation in the defense industry,” he added.

The first flight of the first Turkish prototype helicopter was completed at the TAI’s facilities in Ankara in 2011 and several countries have so far expressed an interest in buying the product.

The Turkish defense minister also said plans to purchase Pakistani-made Super Mushshak basic trainer aircraft were still in the pipeline.

He went on to note that the Pakistani authorities, for their part, had requested the purchase of four Turkish Ada-class corvettes, which would be built in Pakistan.

Işık said Turkey and Pakistan have “special relations” that date back a long way, particularly praising the two country’s relations in the defense industry.

“To ensure the region’s peace and security, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan should maintain close ties,” he added.

Işık also said Turkey and Pakistan had begun discussing details of a cooperation deal by which Turkey would help modernize the Pakistani navy’s fleet of three Agosta-class submarines.

Işık also met with Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif on June 3 at Pakistani army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

At the meeting, the two discussed regional security and defense collaboration, according to an army statement issued after the meeting.

Işık reportedly voiced his appreciation for the Pakistani armed forces’ contributions to the fight against terrorism and promotion of regional peace and security.

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