Turkey increases military spending -
A US reconnaissance AWACS plane flies over a mosque to land at Incirlik air base near Adana, Nov. 26, 2001. (photo by REUTERS/Fatih Saribas)
The second of four AWACS [Airborne Warning and Control System] early warning airplanes that we ordered 10 years ago have arrived. The third will be delivered later this year. Foreigners call these planes early warning craft, but we named it "Peace Eagle." These planes, for which we are paying $1.5 billion, will be in the air 24 hours and be refueled in flight. They will report to Ankara if even a bird flies over our borders. We heard from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the long-stalled general utility helicopter project was finally signed. We will pay $3.5 billion for the first batch of 109 US-made Sikorsky helicopters.
The earlier signed project for T-129 AgustaWestland attack helicopters has a bill for $3 billion. We are also buying Seahawk naval helicopters for $557 million.
The other the day the first “Koca Yusuf” giant transport plane, which foreigners call the Hercules A400M, arrived. Turkey is the second country after France to have one of those planes. We ordered 10 of them for 1.3 billion euros [$1.79 billion].
In a meeting a couple of days ago chaired by the prime minister, the decision was made for F-35 new-generation fighters. We already paid $175 million to join the project. As the planes are produced, we are committed to buy a hundred of them at $160 million each. This year we will get two of them.
The long-range air defense system contract we signed with the Chinese will cost $4 billion. If for any reason we change our minds about the Chinese, Americans are waiting in line.
These were all air assets. It is no less on the ground and the sea. We will pay $500 million to our national tank project, $687 million toward updating our M60 tanks, and $625 million for a minesweeper. A patrol boat will cost an additional 407 million euros [$562 million], and an amphibious vessel project 391 million euros [$540 million].
According to a research by Ibrahim Ekinci published in Dunya, the first two homemade warships were built at Golcuk naval yards. Istanbul Shipyards are manufacturing two more. Furthermore, the decision was made to order four more. Bids for two logistical support ships are under review. A landing platform dock vessel will be built by Metin Kalkavan’s shipyards. The biggest naval project is TF2000. They are frigates that will provide air defense against attacks by ships, airplanes and other aerial vehicles. And finally, in the support group, we have a project for a training ship with sails.