The U.S releases Turkey’s arms sales to the Philippines.
According to recent reports from foreign media, the United States has allowed Turkey to sell T129 gunships to the Philippines. According to early reports, after Turkey purchased the S-400 air defense missile system from Russia, its foreign sales of T129 gunships were blocked by the United States. Some analysts believe that the United States is giving Turkey the green light to win over the Philippines.
The T129 gunship was developed in cooperation with TAI and Agusta Westland. The aircraft uses avionics and weapon systems designed in Turkey, but its turbine engine is a joint venture between the British Ro-Roy and the American Honeywell. Manufactured, so export needs to be approved by the United States.
So far, TAI has delivered more than 60 T129 gunships to the Turkish Army and Gendarmerie Command. In December 2018, due to domestic anti-terrorism needs, the Philippines signed a cooperation agreement with Turkey after multiple rounds of testing and comparison and planned to purchase 6 T129 armed helicopters.
As Turkey purchased the S-400 air defense missile system from Russia, the relationship between the United States and Turkey has taken a sharp turn. The United States has adopted a series of sanctions against Turkey, including excluding Turkey from the F-35 fighter project and prohibiting the export of weapons and equipment-related parts to Turkey. The sale of the T129 armed helicopter project was therefore blocked.
Some analysts believe that the U.S. gave the green light to Turkey’s arms sales not to improve US-Turkish relations but to favor the Philippines. As we all know, the Philippines is a traditional ally of the United States. Still, since Philippine President Duterte took office, he has actively promoted an independent foreign policy, which has led to changes in US-Philippine relations. On the one hand, the Philippines intends to keep a distance from the U.S. government, claiming to terminate various forms of military cooperation between the United States and the Philippines. On the other hand, in terms of economy, trade, diplomacy, and regional affairs, the Philippines has been moving closer to neighboring countries and Russia and maintaining a balance among the big powers.
After the Biden administration came to power to reshape the United States’ leadership, it attached great importance to the military alliance relationship. The Philippines has a crucial geographic location in the Asia-Pacific region. With the advancement of the U.S. “Indo-Pacific strategy”, the United States needs the Philippines to cooperate in all Western Pacific regions. Therefore, the United States tried to recalibrate the relationship between the United States and the Philippines.
In January, US Secretary of State Blincoln reiterated in a phone call with the Philippine Foreign Minister that a strong US-Philippines alliance is essential to the free and open “Indo-Pacific region” and emphasized the importance the “US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty” to the security of the two countries. From April 12 to April 23, the Philippines and the United States held the 36th “side-by-side” joint military exercise. Philippine Defense Secretary Lorenzana stated that the exercise demonstrated that “the relationship between the two countries is as solid as a rock.”
The United States has always used arms export licenses as a means to combat dissidents and win over “allies.” It can be seen that for the Philippines, the U.S.’s release of Turkish T129 gunships for export is “bait “not a purpose.