The Turkish defense industrιεσ, which are part of the F-35 fighter jet production line, are going to lose billions of dollars after Washington decided to exclude Turkey from the fighter program due to Ankara’s purchase of the Russian anti-missile system S -400.
Eight Turkish companies are participating in the F-35 production program, supplying parts for hundreds of aircraft, such as cabin imaging systems and landing gear. The contracts according to the Pentagon says would cost 9 billion dollars throughout the program.
Turkey’s Defense Industry Director, Ismail Demir, said today that the US decision to transfer production operations elsewhere – and the possibility of imposing US sanctions – will be a negative development for these companies. Demir pointed out that these losses would be temporary, arguing that companies would be stronger in the long run.
Analysts, however, point out that this development is a major blow to the Turkish defense industry companies that have been involved in the aircraft production program for over a decade, while they also expect Turkey’s access to new defense technology to be limited.
The Turkish companies participating in the F-35 program are Roketsan, Havelsan, Alp Aviation, Ayesas, Kale Aerospace, Tubitak-SAGE, the Turkish aerospace industry TAI and the Turkish branch of the Dutch company Fokker Elmo, according to the official F-35 website. None of the companies were readily available for comment, according to Reuters.
Turkish director Demir stressed that they would be expected to seek ways to be paid compensation for their losses. The Kale group had said in April that if Turkey were to be excluded from the F-35’s production program, any loss of sales would be offset by turning to civil aviation.
Announcing Turkey’s exclusion from the militant program, the Pentagon said yesterday that Turkish companies produced more than 900 itemss for the F-35. The supply chain will be shipped mainly to US factories, in a move that will cost US between $ 500 and $ 600 million.
Demir has been critical of the US decision, stressing to Turkish journalists that “to date we have fully fulfilled our responsibilities, we have paid our debts for the F35. There is a decision for unilateral sanctions. It is a decision that is inconsistent with the agreement. We expect that it will be sent to us officially. We want to see under which article of the agreement this decision was made,” he said, noting that the decision uses the word postponement, not the word exclusion.
“Turkey will continue to evaluate its alternatives, ie if a door closes another will open, we can create our own door, every choice is on the table,” they said they expect the US to push ahead with their decision on F -35 officially.
Earlier, Rostec’s Russian state-owned company, through its president, Sergey Chemeov, said it was ready to supply Turkey with Su-35 fighter aircraft in case there was similar interest from the Turkish side.