Turkish defense industry fully mobilized to support President Erdogan in upcoming elections

Rarely have the Turkish elections been so scrupulously followed by so many major world chancelleries, from Washington to Beijing, via Paris, Berlin or even Moscow. Indeed, to face the AKP, the party of justice and development of President Erdogan in power for 21 years, the 6 main opposition parties have made common cause to line up behind Kemal Kilicdaroglu, president of the Republican Party of the Social Democratic and Secular People, to lead the fight, while the popularity of the Turkish President has been severely eroded by the poor economic results of a country marked by galloping inflation of more than 55% over the last 12 months, a unemployment rate remaining high at around 10%, and above all the very poor conduct of relief operations following the earthquake of February 6, which killed more than 50.000 people in the country. The fact is, recent polls have Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu neck and neck in the first round of presidential elections, with 41% and 46% of the vote respectively, and an even tighter second round.

To restore his image in the face of his traditional election, President Erdogan has been relying for several months on a major player in the modern Turkish economy, but also on his new role on the international scene, namely the country's defense industry. . Thus, like what Vladimir Putin did in 2018 during the last Russian presidential campaign, RT Erdogan has put pressure on this entire industry, so as to multiply ads flattering the nationalist streak of a large part of public opinion. Thus, in a few weeks time, the aeronautical industry presented the supersonic combat drone Kizilelma, the stealth combat drone Anka-3 as well as the TB-3, designated successor of the famous TB-2 intended to operate aboard the new helicopter carrier hastily reclassified combat drone carrier, the TCG Anadulu. The latter has moreover, very opportunely, been delivered to the Turkish Navy, again to increase the perception of a very sustained dynamic in this area, a few days after the construction of the last 3 Istanbul class frigates been announced.

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If the Anadulu can implement helicopters, its ability to effectively embark combat drones remains to be demonstrated.

But the real issue, in terms of image, lies with the new generation combat aircraft program, the TFX, as well as the Altay tank, both of which are expected to demonstrate their capabilities in the coming weeks. The TFX, on the one hand, was assembled in a hurry in just a few months, after having evolved very little for almost 3 years following the US embargo on aeronautical technologies. The aircraft began its taxi tests on March 16, and everything suggests that it could make its first flight either before the first tour, on May 14, or between the two tours before May 28. The situation is identical regarding the Altay battle tank, one of the pillars of the defense effort and the renewal of the Turkish BITD. Presented with great fanfare during the Eurosatory 2018 exhibition, the heavy tank intended to become the pivot of the high-intensity component of the Turkish armies, experienced a severe setback when the Europeans, and the Germans in particular, decided to embargo the exports of equipment intended for Ankara's land and air forces after the Turkish intervention in Syria. However, the Altay relied on certain key imported components, notably its MTU engine and its German-made RENK transmission. It took several years for Turkish negotiators to obtain alternatives to these two components, in this case from South Korea, the Altay now having to be equipped with the same Hyundai DV27K engine and the same SNT EST15K transmission as the K2 Black Panther.


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