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Türkiye offers advanced defense equipment to Philippines

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By Veronica Uy

In a landmark event underscoring the growing defense cooperation between Turkiye and the Philippines, Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Niyazi Evren Aykol on Thursday said his country is committed to supporting the Philippines’ defense modernization efforts.

At the cocktail reception on board Turkish Navy’s ADA-class corvette, TCG Kinaliada (F-514), Akyol said the advanced capabilities of the warship showcases Turkiye’s indigenous naval technologies.

“Turkish companies are well positioned to contribute to the Philippines’ efforts to establish a self-reliant defense infrastructure, offering platforms and systems that adhere to NATO standards and boast proven combat capabilities,” said the ambassador at the reception for TCG Kinaliada’s three-day goodwill visit.

TCG Kinaliada “showcases advanced indigenous assets, like Turkiye’s first national surface-to-surface navigation system and a compact management system, one of such few independent systems in the world,” the ambassador added.

The reception on board the ship was also a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the bilateral relationship between Turkiye and the Philippines. Both countries seek to strengthen ties and future prospects in defense collaboration.

Noting the mutual respect and shared values of the two countries that have strengthened their defense relationship, Aykol said that Turkish attack helicopters and other capacity-building equipment already contribute significantly to the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“We are pleased to witness the launching of the first Miguel Malvar-class frigate in South Korea this month, which is actually equipped with Turkish Aselsan CIWS (close-in weapon system) close defense system, which enhances the capabilities of the Philippines Navy,” the ambassador said.

Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, Philippine Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea who welcomed the Turkish delegation, also noted that the Philippine Navy’s new corvette, BRP Miguel Malvar, built by HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, is equipped with the state-of-the-art Gokdeniz close-in weapon system from Turkiye’s leading defense company, Aselsan.

Commodore Trinidad highlighted the significant advancements in the two countries’ defense collaboration over recent years. He praised the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Industry Cooperation and the 2019 Implementing Agreement, which he said have been pivotal in enhancing the Philippines’ defense capabilities.

Both Trinidad and Akyol celebrated the broader context of Turkish-Philippine relations beyond defense: Turkiye’s support for the peace process in Mindanao and socio-economic development initiatives through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, the six-fold increase in the number of Filipino visitors to Turkiye over the last 15 years from 20,000 to 120,000, and Turkish Airlines’ direct flights to Manila, enhancing connectivity and people-to-people exchanges.

“Over the seven and a half years, we have built a partnership based on mutual respect and commitment to progress. We regard the Philippines as a key country in its future, with its strategic location, dynamic and young population, and fast-growing economy. Our countries have much in common,” Ambassador Aykol said.

“We are at the heart of our respective regions. We traditionally possess excellent bilateral relations, and above all, we share the same democratic values and a foreign policy emphasizing peace, stability, and the privacy of international law. We are proud to be one of the strongest contributors to the peace process in southern Philippines, which stands as a shining example of the peaceful resolution of a historic conflict,” the ambassador added.

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