Turkey has agreed to help provide Pakistan with four corvettes, Defense Minister Fikri Isik said Wednesday, in a sign of strengthening defense ties between the nations.
“We have signed an important agreement regarding the MILGEM project, which Turkey successfully exports abroad, and joint production in Pakistan,” Isik said at a defense industry fair in Istanbul. “So that we will share our own ability with our brother country Pakistan.”
He added: “We have taken the first steps in a good will agreement and a project that will make Pakistan’s naval forces stronger.”
The deal was linked to an agreement for Turkey to buy 52 trainer aircraft from Pakistan. The single-propeller MFI-17 Super Mushshak training planes are estimated to cost around $2 million each.
The corvettes will be built according to the design of the MILGEM Ada class ships.
Pakistan’s Defense Production Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain said the agreements would strengthen existing cooperation and friendship between the countries.
“We have targets with Turkey in the defense area to develop some of our joint initiatives,” he said. “We will sign stronger agreements and projects in the future.”
Last October, the Turkish corvette TCG Buyukada arrived in Karachi to take part in exercises with the Pakistan Navy.
The Ada class corvettes’ weapons include a 76 millimeter naval gun, four 324 mm torpedo tubes, eight launchers for anti-ship missiles and the RIM-116 close-in weapon system.
The corvette can accommodate a crew of 93 and a Seahawk helicopter on its flight deck.
Turkey aims to be self-sufficient in defense by 2023, when it hopes to be producing its own aircraft carrier.
The country has long-standing defense ties with Pakistan, such as helping Islamabad modernize its ships and U.S.-made F-16 fighter aircraft.
“No Turk forgets the help of Pakistani Muslims during the War of Independence, neither today nor tomorrow,” Isik said. “For this reason, the contribution of Turkey to Pakistan’s development will always be given at a high level and will continue to be given.”
Reporting by Eda Fatma Topcu; Writing by Emin Avundukluoglu