Turkey, Britain sign military cooperation agreement
Turkey and Britain signed a military cooperation agreement during a three-day visit by President Abdullah Gul to London, a news report has said, Today's Zaman reported.
The report, which appeared in Jane's Defence Weekly, said details of the agreement were not available but that it followed the signing of a strategic partnership agreement in Ankara by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his British counterpart, David Cameron, in July 2010. The 2010 agreement commits the two countries to strengthen their defense ties through regular talks and cooperation in defense manufacturing.
The latest agreement was signed on Nov. 23 by British Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond and Deputy Chief of Turkish General Staff Hulusi Akar.
"Turkey is an important ally of the UK and as NATO partners we [the UK and Turkey] are bound by a pledge of collective defense. This bilateral treaty will take our defense co-operation to a new level," the British Ministry of Defense said after the signing of the accord.
Britain has historically been a significant supplier of military material to Turkey, accounting for 8 percent of Ankara's military imports since 2000. Current British export efforts in relation to Turkey center on the BAE Systems-led Global Combat Ship (GCS) program, with Ankara seen as a potential partner, according to Jane's Defence, which described Turkey as one of the world's fastest growing defense markets.