Bangladesh and Turkey have strategic level defence cooperation since signing of a joint agreement back in the 1980s however things have taken off during the past decade through the leadership of our honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Turkish President Recep T. Erdogan.
On 30 May, the Bangladesh Naval Chief of Staff Admiral M. Shaheen Iqbal met visited the AFSAT or Turkish Military Factory & Shipyard organisation, which is the mother company of 27 ordnance factories and shipyards of the Turkish state.
The Bangladesh Navy has solicited the cooperation of Turkey to develop its naval warfare capabilities through acquisition of modern warships, sensors and armaments.
Currently the Bangladesh Navy is implementing the national frigate program, along with offshore patrol vessel and large patrol craft programmes. In addition the Navy is fitting Turkish naval guns aboard its newly built Padma class (Batch II) coastal patrol craft and refitting existing warships.
On 19 August, the Bangladesh Army Chief of Staff General Shafiuddin Ahmed visited AFSAT along with a delegation of 8 other Army personel including several generals on the sidelines of the International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF’21). It may be noted that the CAS is also visited the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Army Aviation as the Bangladesh Army is purchasing attack helicopters for the first time.
The visit to the AFSAT is of particular importance because the Bangladesh Army is seeking to streamline its inventory by implementing NATO standards of quality, maintenance and specifications in a comprehensive manner with the assistance of Turkey.
In relation to this the Army is also building new ordnance factories for the production of anti-tank guided missiles, air defence systems, grenades for AGL, heavy calibre artillery shells and various other components for the land forces.
To this end, the Bangladesh Ordnance Factories (BOF) awarded a contract to REPKON for the supply of machinery required to manufacture artillery munitions such as shells, missiles and rockets. Turkey is projected to become one of the top three defence equipment and technology suppliers to the Bangladesh within the next 5 years.
Turkish defence giants such as ROKETSAN, ASELSAN and OTOKAR have very strong presence in Bangladesh. Companies such as TUSAS/TAI, MKE, Havelsan etc are also making inroads in to the supply chain environment of the Bangladesh Armed Forces through their local representatives.