ANKARA — Two T129 Turkish-made attack helicopters were deployed at a southeastern military base in Turkey to support anti-terror operations against Kurdish rebels fighting for autonomy, the Turkish military headquarters said in a statement.

The T129 choppers are the first locally made platforms under license from the Italian-British AgustaWestland. The local producer is Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

The attack and reconnaissance helicopters are outfitted with an arsenal of Hellfire missiles and guided rockets.

The statement from the Turkish General Staff said the attack helicopters, now based in Siirt in southeastern Turkey, also will operate in neighboring provinces of Sirnak, Hakkari and Van.

The deployments of the T129s come at a time when the Turkish government is in fragile peace talks with the Kurdish rebels. The An armed conflict has taken more than 40,000 lives since the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party , or PKK, launched a campaign for an independent Kurdish homeland in 1984.

In addition to the Turkish Army, TAI hopes to sell the T129 to foreign markets.


Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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