UK: Wait and See on CAATSA

UK: Wait and See on CAATSA
UK: Wait and See on CAATSA

British Ambassador to Turkey, Sir Dominick Chilcott talked about bilateral relations after Brexit. Chilcott answered questions about Turkey’s S-400 Air Defence System acquiring and British companies involved in the Turkish defence industry during CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). The online meeting was organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association (DMD).


The first question about the Russian system was posed by BBC. Chilcott said in sum: We are both NATO allies. We see defence corporation and defence industry sector corporation as important components of the bilateral relationship. The TF-X fighter project is an extremely important project. So I think that shows that you know the UK is very committed to working together with Turkey in the defence sector to pursue collaboration between our defence industrial sectors. 

Turkey is a NATO ally.  NATO has a doctrine on the issue or buys equipment from Russia. Basically, NATO has agreed among NATO allies, it agreed among themselves that they shouldn't do it. So that is the position of the UK government.  We stand by NATO’s agreed position that NATO allies should not buy equipment or using equipment sourced from Russia. There are some exceptions to this which are for countries which have been legacy equipment from the days of the cold war from Russia.  But those the only exceptions, so I think our position is quite clear about. So, we very much hope that Turkey will in the future look to its NATO allies.

TurDef asked ambassador the CAATSA’s effects and possible cooperation areas for both sides. Chilcott’s answer was in sum:

I think we are still waiting to see how CAATSA sanctions operate in practice. Because they were a relatively new development. They were announced only in the last days of the Trump Administration. Anything is possible. We have to see what Biden administration is going to do on the subject. We don’t genuinely do not know what they will be taking or what steps Congress they may wish to take as well in coming weeks, months. So it's very hard to be too specific about what effect the CAATSA sanctions might have on British-Turkish collaboration in defence. You mentioned a number of areas where there are possible opportunities for British companies. Those companies which are working with American partners which are based in the United States. I think the Rolls Royce-Honeywell venture is one of those. of course, are subject to US regulation. Rather than British licensing, regulation systems. I think Honeywell- Rolls-Royce gearbox and other items. You have to ask it to my American Colleague about the prospects rather than me. In terms of Rolls-Royce for example on TF-x Projects, IT is very much British Government desire that Rolls-Royce should be working with Turkish partners. Designed, developed the engine that will allow TF-X to be genuinely fifth-generation aircraft.


So I think the overall answer to your question is, there is a lot of potentials out there. I mean we have some great companies in the UK in the defence sector. BAE Systems who work on TF-X on the design phase for the moment. Rolls-Royce may have a leading world position in engine design. Think about other companies in other areas of the defence sector in world-class.


We very much hope that those collaborations will continue because I as said, the outset of industrial collaboration between two NATO allies is an important component of the bilateral relationship.