South Africa and Turkey will sign a Defence Industry Cooperation Agreement during Africa Aerospace and Defence in September, which will allow the countries to cooperate more closely on defence and security matters.
The agreement follows the two-day visit to Turkey by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Minister of Defence Lindiwe Sisulu, who returned to South Africa on Friday.
Thabo Masebe, spokesperson to the Deputy President, told defenceWeb that the defence agreement “makes it easier for South African companies involved in defence and security to participate in whatever programmes the Turkish government would have and vice versa.”
Masebe said that South Africa has in the past bid for a number of Turkish defence projects. Denel was shortlisted to supply its Rooivalk attack helicopter to Turkey but in 2007 the AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta won the contract. Denel’s Mechem is currently shortlisted for a de-mining contract, which will soon be announced by the Turkish government. “This demonstrates why there should be agreement between the two countries,” Masebe said. “Both countries agree to cooperate more.”
Motlanthe was accompanied by the Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters and the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim. Sisulu met her Turkish counterpart ?smet Yilmaz in Ankara while Lieutenant General Abel Mxolisi Shilubane, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, met the Chief of Turkish General Staff Lt Gen Ya?ar Güler. Yilmaz accepted Sisulu’s invitation to participate in the Africa Aerospace and defence expo at Waterkloof Air Force Base outside Pretoria between September 19 and 23.
One of the highlights of the visit was the signing of an agreement on the establishment of the South Africa-Turkey Bi-National Commission. The Commission will enhance co-operation between the two countries in the fields of politics, economics, trade, defence, security, agriculture, minerals, energy, education, tourism, sport and environment, the Presidency said.
The commission, which will meet once in every two years, will be co-chaired by Motlanthe, and Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Last week’s visit follows Motlanthe’s first official visit to Turkey in August 2010 and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan subsequent visit to South Africa last year, BuaNews reports.
The total bilateral trade between South Africa and Turkey increased slightly to R7 billion in 2011. South Africa’s major exports to Turkey comprised, amongst others, mineral products, base metals, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, products of the chemical or allied products, vehicles, aircrafts, vessels, iron and steel, organic chemicals, ores, slag and ash.
Turkey’s total foreign direct investment in South Africa is estimated to be US$60 million.