U.K. lifts all restrictions on defence exports to Turkey

The United Kingdom has completely lifted all of the restrictions on the export of defence products to Turkey introduced following the country’s 2019 offensive on northern Syria, the head of Turkey’s Defence Industries Presidency said on Friday.

In December, the British government announced it would resume exports to Turkey, but on said it assess new export licenses on a case-by-case basis.

Despite the December announcement, HaberTürk cited İsmail Demir as saying, there were defence export licences for some products that were awaiting approval by the British government, and in practice the restrictions were ongoing.

As of Friday, ''all restrictions are now lifted and no defence article license request is awaiting confirmation,'' Demir said.

The U.K. in October 2019 suspended the granting of arms export licences to Turkey for weapons that might be used during military operations in Syria targeting Kurdish forces.

One of the leading issues of concern regarding U.K. defence restrictions has been the engine procurement of Turkey’s domestic-made TF-X fifth generation fighter jet.

Turkey, which is heavily reliant on foreign technologies, began its TF-X programme after being expelled from the F-35 consortium over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile systems. 

Turkey’s ejection from the F-35 programme has made the project TF-X project is vital for Ankara as it seeks to replace its aging and less sophisticated air fleet. 

Demir in March stated that the country had begun working with U.K.’s Rolls-Royce on the TF-X engine, Defense News reported.

The U.K. government has also reportedly expressed interest in Turkey’s TB-2 drones, which have been celebrated for their effectiveness in fending off Russia’s assault in Ukraine, in addition to its success against Russian weaponry in Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan, and lately Ukraine, the Middle East Eye reported.

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