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Facing Sanctions, Turkey's Defense Industry Goes to Plan B

Nov 7, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
The pilot of a Turkish F-16 greets the crowd after performing at the Teknofest Istanbul Aerospace and Technology Festival in Istanbul on Sept. 22, 2019.

The pilot of a Turkish F-16 greets the crowd after performing at the Teknofest Istanbul Aerospace and Technology Festival in Istanbul on Sept. 22, 2019. Turkey is well-placed to ride out the storm from Western embargoes on its arms industry.

(ISLAM YAKUT/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Turkey's defense industry has taken a blow, but it's certainly not down and out. Ankara's relationship with the European Union and many of its fellow NATO members has hit a new low following Turkey's military incursion into northeastern Syria. Outraged at the Turkish operation, a large number of Western states, including key arms exporters such as France, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom, suspended their arms exports to Turkey. Meanwhile, the United States, which supplies around 60 percent of Turkey's total arms imports -- the most of any country -- could also turn off the taps if Congress passes a series of anti-Turkey motions. The Turkish defense sector's current pain notwithstanding, the country is not bereft of options, suggesting it will ultimately manage to push through the tough obstacles by turning to alternative exporters and relying even more on its own defense industry....

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