The Turkish technology and industry minister’s suggestion that the country will attempt to produce its own ammunition has caused concern among some NATO partners that the move could contravene an international treaty
Western diplomats and military officials remain puzzled over remarks by a Turkish minister that Turkey is set out to produce unspecified types of ammunition and thus circumvent foreign suppliers’ potential sales blockades.
In a recent speech, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık said Turkey would launch a “national” factory this year to produce its own “warheads, airplane bombs and plastic explosives.”
He said the new factory would end Turkey’s dependence on foreign suppliers of this type of ammunition.
The proposed production facility would be located adjacent to another ammunition factory operated by state-controlled weapons manufacturer MKE in the Central Anatolian province of Kırıkkale. It will produce 600 tons of plastic explosives, Işık said.
“The special production equipment used in ammunition factories are subject to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and buyers need permission from the producing countries to obtain these materials,” Işık said. “According to the international treaties Turkey is a signatory to, we have had to obtain export licenses from the supplier company’s country to meet our requirements for warheads and bombs. And we failed to meet our needs if the country in question did not allow its manufacturer. We aim to end this [problem] by producing [those items] ourselves.”
“The minister’s statement is not clear for many reasons. We are trying to understand if Turkey is planning to bypass the MTCR. If so, that would be worrying,” said one NATO defense attaché in Ankara.
Another NATO ambassador in Brussels expressed worry in a telephone interview. “We are not sure what kind of ammunition Turkey intends to produce at this new factory, and why it hopes to bypass the MTCR,” the envoy said.
Full article: Is Turkey planning to bypass global ammunition regime? (Hurriyet Daily News)