Turkey is eyeing a defence agreement with Pakistan which could see the country co-manufacture missiles and fighter jets with Islamabad, said a report in Bloomberg on Tuesday.
According to the report, officials from both countries have held meetings over the past couple of months where the prospects of manufacturing and developing military hardware have been discussed.
Officials from both sides, according to Bloomberg, have confirmed that the meetings did take place in January but did not comment on whether any deal was reached between the two countries or when another such meeting will take place.
Pakistan develops the JF-17 Thunder fighter jet with China. This means that Turkey can get its hands on Chinese military technology when it collaborates on defence projects with Pakistan.
Islamabad is said to have adopted Chinese designs for its Shaheen ballistic missiles as well. Turkish officials familiar with the matter spoke to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity to say that Ankara sees Islamabad as a strategic ally and a potential partner in developing its Siper long-range missile-defence project and TF-X fighter jets.
“Pakistani Defence Secretary Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain met with top Turkish officials including Defence Minister Hulusi Akar in December, and discussed defence industry cooperation, the people familiar said,” read Bloomberg.
The move on Turkey’s end could complicate its relations with the US as Washington recently sanctioned its NATO ally for buying a missile defence system from Russia. The US also suspended Turkish companies from participating in the development of the Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 stealth fighter jet.