Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli has accused
US and German defense suppliers of a “covered” [indirect] arms embargo on Turkey. Canikli said that the firms were either halting shipments of spare parts of weapons systems to Turkey, or deliberately delaying them, while a Turkish diplomat dealing with NATO matters confirmed that some Turkish requests for systems and subsystems have not been addressed by the US and Germany. However, the British-based European division of US company Caterpillar—engine-maker Perkins—is in talks
with Ankara to produce and supply an engine for the Altay
, Turkey's indigenous Main Battle Tank. Austria’s AVL List GmbH had initially been contracted to supply the power pack (engine and transmission) for the Altay, but this deal was cancelled
after Austria’s parliament unanimously adopted a non-binding motion that imposed an arms embargo against Turkey in November 2016.
Turkey’s tank fleet is currently made up of American M-48s and M-60s, some of which have been modernized with Israeli cooperation into M-60 Sabra tanks, plus a large contingent of German Leopard 1s and Leopard 2s. That is hardy surprising. America and Germany are Turkey’s 2 most important geopolitical relationships, and this is reflected in Turkey’s choice of defense industry partners. The country’s industrial offset requirements ensure that these manufacturers have a long history of local partnerships to draw upon.
In recent years, however, a pair of new players have begun to make an impact on the Turkish defense scene. One was Israel, whose firms specialized in sub-systems, upgrades, and UAVs. The other is the Republic of [South] Korea, who has made inroads in the Turkish market with turboprop training aircraft, mobile howitzers… and now, main battle tanks.