Israel-United States memorandum of understanding worries Turkey
Geostrategy-Direct, www.geostrategy-direct.com, August 30, 2005
ANKARA - The government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan appears
concerned that Israel could restrict defense technology to Turkey.
Turkey's Defense Industries Undersecretariat has been studying a
defense memorandum of understanding signed last week by Israel and the
United States, government officials and industry sources said. Under
the MoU, officials said, Israel pledged to consult with the United
States before exporting weapons. Turkey has been Israel's second
largest military customer.
"There's no question that this MoU could affect Turkey," a government
source said. "Until now, Israel has exported technology to Turkey that
has been denied by the United States. Why would Washington allow this
The officials cited a series of Defense Ministry awards to Israeli
companies over the last seven years. In each of the cases, Israeli
defense contractors beat their U.S. counterparts because of the failure
of the latter to guarantee technology transfer.
In April 2005, an Israeli consortium won a $183 million contract for
the supply of three tactical unmanned aerial vehicle systems to the
The Israeli consortium beat out the U.S. firm General Atomics, which
immediately complained that Ankara's requirements for technology
transfer, coproduction and overall responsibility were impossible to
"The MoU will mean that Israeli defense exports to Turkey would come
under immediate political pressure from Washington," a Turkish industry
source said. "With every Israeli win would come a complaint by an
American company that the playing field was not level."
Since 1997, Turkey has turned to Israel for defense technology denied
by the United States and Europe. In 2002, Turkey awarded an Israeli
consortium a $688 million contract for the upgrade of 170 U.S.-origin
M-60A3 main battle tanks for the Turkish Army. Israel Military
Industries beat out General Dynamics for the award based on Israeli
promises of technology transfer and coproduction.
"Now with the signing of the U.S.-Israeli accord, any major Turkish
defense deal with Israel must win Washington's direct, or at least
indirect, approval," a Turkish defense analyst told the Ankara-based
Turkish Daily News on Aug. 22. "Also, the secrecy is gone."