Turkey is one of the largest customers of the Italian military industry, especially of state-controlled companies such as Leonardo (the former Finmeccanica) and Fincantieri. Italy is exporting to Turkey a wide arsenal of weaponry: from pistols to machine guns, from land vehicles to aircraft, from targeting equipment to bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles.
In 2016 (the latest data we have available), the Renzi government approved exports of military equipment worth over €134 million to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey. All things considered, this is a rather modest sum but enough for Ankara to be 10th on the list of customers of our military industry.
It is a far cry from the figure of more than €1 billion for the production of 51 Mangusta type helicopters in Turkey (upped to 61 in 2010), renamed TAI T129 ATAK. The manufacturing license was approved in 2007 during the Prodi government, and the Italian Network for Disarmament and Amnesty International asked for the deal to be suspended due to the possibility of these ground attack helicopters being used by the Turkish Air Force in Kurdish areas. But the helicopters were sold, invoking the official justification that has become a veritable mantra for all our defense ministers: to fight international terrorism, particularly ISIS-Daesh, against which Turkey is one of our main allies.