No US anti-terror arms to Turkey despite attack

No US anti-terror arms to Turkey despite attack

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
No US anti-terror arms to Turkey despite attack

Obama administration is inclined to sell armed drones to Turkey, reports say.

The United States has given no indication of when and how powerful anti-terror weapons could be transferred to Turkey, despite the bloody attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) early Tuesday, which killed eight servicemen in the country’s southeast.

U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Frank Ricciardone expressed condolences about the attack, and U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed the situation late Tuesday in Mexico on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting. But no details have emerged on the transfer of the weapons. The U.S. agreed eight months ago to the transfer of three AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, made by Bell Helicopter Textron, the most advanced weapons against terrorists Turkey has in its hands. The U.S. administration had moved to offer the helicopters from the inventory of the U.S. Marines.

Experts said this was part of the problem, and that the Marines have always been reluctant to release gunships from their inventory of about 170 attack helicopters. The choppers destined to be given to Turkey are currently at the Norfolk Sea Base, and the red tape for their transfer is continuing. Successive Turkish efforts to gain more of the same kind were obstructed in Congress because of human rights violations claims. Turkey uses the W model against the PKK most effectively, and asked for three W versions nearly four years ago.

“We condemn today’s bloody attacks in Hakkari in the strongest terms. On behalf of the U.S. and the American people, I send heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the fallen. We wish a full and speedy recovery for the injured,” Ricciardone said late on Tuesday. “As a friend and ally, the U.S. will continue to stand with the people and government of Turkey in their fight against the PKK, which the U.S. has officially designated as a terrorist organization,” he said.

Turkey also wants to buy MQ-9 armed Reaper and MQ-1 Predator drones, a rather more hopeless situation. President Barack Obama’s administration is inclined to sell armed drones to Turkey but has to convince Congress first, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül said after meeting with the U.S. leader on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Chicago late May.