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US OKs Turkey Sale of Six Attack Helicopters to Philippines

The T129 is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments.

The US has allowed Turkey to proceed with the sale of six T129 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopters to the Philippines, according to Turkish Aerospace Industries official Serdar DemirMiddle East Eye reported.

The T129 is a military helicopter designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments. It is powered by two turboshaft engines produced through a joint venture between the American firm Honeywell and British company Rolls Royce.

Under US law, foreign firms seeking military-grade commercial sales are obliged to obtain export permits. The government also needs to notify Congress regarding major defense sales of more than $25 million.

A Turkish official, however, told Middle East Eye that the engine export license does not need Congressional authorization because the sale is below $25 million.

“The license was directly issued by the State Department,” the official stated. “We also received export licenses for the engines needed last year for T129 helicopters to be used by Turkish authorities.”

Tension Between US and Turkey

During the administration of former US President Donald Trump, tension between the two countries grew due to Turkey’s plan to purchase the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

When Turkey activated the missile system, the US government removed the country from the F-35 fighter jet program.

Moreover, President Joe Biden’s recent categorization of the 1915 events during World War I as genocide has caused anger in Turkey. They claim that the leader’s remark is a “clear distortion” of history for political purposes.

Despite the increasing tension, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his country is willing to start a new era with the US. “I would like to remind Mr. Biden that we were not strangers. We had distinct relations. He even showed the courtesy of visiting me at my home during my illness,” the president stated.

Philippines Modernizing Military

In April, the Philippine Navy said it is currently exploring ways to collaborate with the Turkish government concerning its modernization efforts.

Japan has also begun providing the Philippine military with lifesaving equipment and disaster relief supplies to strengthen their diplomatic ties.

Pakistani Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad Kazi also revealed that his country is ready to help the Southeast Asian nation modernize its armed forces by providing equipment such as arms, ammunition, and drones.

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