ANKARA — BMC, a leading Turkish armored vehicles maker, signed Aug. 8 a contract with the Turkish government to produce and sell a total of 529 tactical wheeled armored vehicles, the government said.
Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), said that BMC would act as the prime contract in the program for the procurement of 529 armored vehicles, meaning the company would be expected to work with other local companies designated as sub-contractors.
SSM said: “The program aims to meet the Turkish Armed Forces’ requirements in areas where it intensively fights terror.”
The statement means the planned vehicles would be deployed mostly in Turkey’s southeastern provinces where the Turkish military fights Kurdish insurgents. The fighting, which began in 1984 and has since taken up more than 40,000 lives, resumed after the Kurdish fighters, designated as terrorists by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union, ended their unilateral ceasefire in July 2015.
A procurement source familiar with the contract said that the deal was worth “over 300 million euros,” or about $350 million.
SSM said that the contract also involves procurement from BMC of an unspecified number of the Yeni Kirpi, an advanced version of the Kirpi, BMC’s mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle which was showcased in May 2017 at the IDEF defense and aerospace exhibition in Istanbul.
BMC is partly owned by businessman Ethem Sancak, a close friend of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Sancak also sits in the central executive commit of Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party. A Qatari investment fund holds a 50 percent stake in the company.
Last year BMC launched RBSS, a Turkey-based joint venture, with Germany’s Rheinmetall and Malaysia’s Etika group.
Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.