The cooperation agreement could allow Ankara not only to ensure the maintenance of its Mi-17s in a sovereign manner but above all to address the market for the maintenance of Russian helicopters in several war zones.
The Ukrainian state company Ukrspecexport and the Turkish aeronautical association (Türk Hava Kurumu) have just signed a contract for the maintenance and repair of 18 Mi-17 helicopters used by Jandarma, which provides internal and border security as well as counter-terrorism. The cost of the contract, according to the head of the Turkish association, Mr Cemal Balikci, would be 2.5 million dollars.
A repair and maintenance facility will be set up in Ankara. Turkey's aim is to capitalise on this cooperation to address the maintenance market in other countries close to Ankara. The Mi-17 is used by Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Libya, Pakistan and especially Afghanistan. Between 2006 and 2016, more than 800 Mi-17s were exported. A cooperation that could evolve on the ground-air segment, since Ukraine ensures, for example, the maintenance of Kazakh and Azeri S-300s.
A setback alliance?
The Ukrainian-Turkish rapprochement, which we have already mentioned, allows Kiev and Ankara to counterbalance Moscow. The "foreign policy strategy of Ukraine", recently approved by President Zelensky (decree 448/2021 of 26 August 2021) clearly indicates (points 113 to 115) the priority of relations with Turkey - including on the subject of the Crimean Tatars. Symbolically, last May, President Zelensky appointed the Ukrainian ambassador to Turkey, Andrii Sibiga, as deputy to the President's Office. Relations between the two countries also concern the defence industry, as shown by the sale of TB2 armed drones to Ukraine and the supply, made public last July, of engines manufactured by "Motor Sich" for Turkish T-929 ATAR-2 helicopters or the future Male Akinci drone.
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