Turkey seals largest single defense export deal with Malaysia
24 February 2011, Thursday / TODAY'S ZAMAN, STANBUL
Turkish and Malaysian defense companies have signed a $600 million deal, making it Turkey's largest single sale in defense industry exports.
Turkish defense industry firm FNSS signed a deal in Ankara on Tuesday with Malaysia's DEFTECH to sell armored combat vehicle frames to the Malaysian armed forces. Under the deal FNSS will sell 257 armored carrier frames for the Pars 8x8 to Malaysia. The 8x8 Pars armored vehicle will be redesigned by Turkish and Malaysian engineers, and the vehicles will be produced locally in Malaysia. The deal is important for the Turkish defense industry since it is the largest single sale in defense industry exports.
Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül and his Malaysian counterpart, Amhad Zahid Hamidi, also participated in the signing ceremony. In an earlier agreement between FNSS and DEFTECH, FNSS had sold 211 armored personnel carriers to the Malaysian armed forces. Malaysian companies also have several agreements for cooperation in the defense industry with Turkish companies MIKES, TUSA and GATES.
In a separate meeting in Ankara on Tuesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan informed reporters that visas would be abolished with Malaysia.
Erdoan was speaking at a joint news conference after a meeting with his Malaysian counterpart, Mohamed Najib bin Abdul Razak. He announced that the Turkish and Malaysian governments have agreed to do away with visa procedures between the two countries.
Noting that this decision will help accelerate economic and social integration between the two countries, Erdoan said the government expected to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Malaysia before the end of this year. Such an agreement will boost our economic and commercial relationships with Malaysia, he said. The mutual trade volume between Turkey and Malaysia currently stands at $1.2 billion. Erdoan said this should be increased to $5 billion within the next few years. We are also planning to launch direct flights bet-
ween stanbuls Sabiha Gökçen Airport and Kuala Lumpur, he said. The Malaysian prime mi- nister said he has invited Erdoan to Malaysia before the end of 2011 to sign a strategic cooperation agreement and free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. These two agreements will mark the beginning of a new era in Turkey-Malaysia relations, he said. Abdul Razak emphasized that Turkey and Malaysia could also develop strong cooperation in oil and natural gas projects. Abdul Razak is the first Malaysian prime minister to officially visit Turkey in 28 years.
Erdoan said the government is ready to extend its full support to mutual investments with Malaysia, adding that entrepreneurs from the two nations could also cooperate in investments in third countries.
While in stanbul Abdul Razak also participated in the Turkey-Malaysia Business Forum on Wednesday. Underlining that mutual investments between the two countries were below the desired level, he said the two countries are contemplating cooperation in areas that have been ignored thus far. He noted that the automotive industry could be one of those fields, and that they could consider jointly producing a new car brand with Turkey, which he sees as a strong auto market. Abdul Razak added that Malaysia could serve as an entry to the vast Asian market for Turkish investors.