The Turkish government aims to strengthen Turkey-Sudan defense cooperation, which lost its momentum following the April 2019 ouster of former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir after decades in power.
The approval process for the Turkey-Sudan defense industry cooperation agreement, signed with the al-Bashir government in 2017, was accelerated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), and the contract was approved by the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Turkish parliament on February 5, 2020.
According to the text of the agreement, obtained by Nordic Monitor, the mechanism focuses on improving defense industry capabilities through more effective cooperation in the fields of development, production and procurement and maintenance of military and defense materiel as well as technical and logistical support, information sharing and research in the field.
In addition to President Erdoğan’s recent visits to African countries and his attempts to support Islamist groups in Libya, Ankara’s moves in other parts of Africa suggest that Turkey will remain tenacious in pursuing its interests on the continent. The Turkish defense industry, controlled by Erdoğan-linked conglomerates, has assumed a pivotal role in shaping the government’s Africa policy. The Turkey-Sudan deal is also in line with recent agreements and developments which confirm that Turkey’s defense sector has become a tool for Ankara to increase its influence and strengthen its presence in foreign countries.
After the coup in Sudan in April 2019, President Erdoğan called the overthrow of al-Bashir a move against Turkey, while Turkish media accused Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt of orchestrating the putsch to sabotage relations between Turkey and Sudan. However, he didn’t hesitate to meet with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in New York on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly in September, 2019 in order to improve bilateral relations.
The 22-article agreement, which sets out the framework for cooperation in the defense industry, was signed on May 11, 2017 in Istanbul by then-Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık and then-Sudanese Defense Minister Gen. Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Ouf and was submitted to the Turkish parliament for ratification in 2018 by President Erdoğan.
The agreement states in Article 4 that the parties will provide “appropriate conditions for joint research, development, production and modernization of spare parts, tools, defense materials, military systems, technical displays and technical equipment required by the Armed Forces of the Parties.”
The deal also covers the procurement of defense industry goods and services and the sale of finished military and defense equipment produced through joint projects to third countries as well as technology transfer. Moreover, Article 4 underlines that the parties should focus on “selling, purchasing or exchange, in line with the relevant legislation of the parties, of surplus defence industry products and services,” adding that they will assist each other in the exchange of “scientific and technical information, relevant documents and information on defence industry standards.”
The letter submitted to parliament seeking approval of the agreement with Sudan:
The agreement also aims to promote cooperation between military technical institutions, defense industry companies and maintenance and repair facilities, and to facilitate technical visits to research centers and personnel exchanges between the institutions and companies.
According to Article 7 of the framework agreement, the Turkish and Sudanese sides will form a joint commission to implement the agreement and select projects to be carried out jointly. The joint commission will be responsible for determination and definition of concrete fields of cooperation, selection of joint projects, exchange of information, submission of proposals, recommendations and opinions to the relevant authorities, ensuring the preparation and publication of necessary documents for realization of approved projects and decisions, regular supervision of the project implementation and assessment of the implementation.
The deal also sets forth conditions on the handling of classified information and documents produced or provided under the agreement, specifying how they shall be exchanged, used and protected. “Classified Information, Documents and Commercially Sensitive hardware and software will be transmitted between the Parties through government-to-government diplomatic channels or through other channels agreed by the Competent Security Authorities of the Parties,” Article 9 (10) states.
The terms of the agreement will be executed by the defense ministries of both parties. The deal is valid for five years with automatic renewal. According to the agreement, either party must notify the other of the intent to terminate at least three months in advance.
The enforcement and details of implementation of the agreement will be defined through complementary and implementation texts, memorandums of understanding, protocols, contracts and arrangements to be signed in accordance with the agreement.
The 12-page security agreement is posted below:Turkey_Sudan_defense_industry_agreement