U.S.-Turkey diplomatic row delays Ankara’s delivery of 30 ATAK helicopters to Pakistan

Ankara's sale of 30 Turkish-made T129 ATAK helicopter gunships to Pakistan will be delayed by at least six months due to Ankara’s ongoing diplomatic row with Washington, Russian Sputnik news reported.

The $1.5 billion deal between Turkey and Pakistan will be pushed back due to the U.S.’ failure to deliver the gunships’ CTS800 engines, Sputnik said, quoting a representative from Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries.

Turkey and Pakistan signed a deal for the Turkish-made helicopter gunships on July 13, with a delivery date of the first helicopter within one to two years, Sputnik said.

Pakistani officials have gone on record saying their current AH-1F Cobra gunships lack the capability to perform adequately over the higher altitudes of the Hindu Kush mountain range, separating Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Tensions have heightened tensions between Ankara and Washington this year over Turkey’s detention of U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson on terror charges. Washington sanctioned two Turkish ministers, and U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium exports to the U.S., sparking a financial crisis which caused the Turkish lira to lose over 40 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar this year.

The U.S. support for Kurdish militants fighting the Islamic State group, namely the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, and Ankara’s decision to deploy the Russian-made S-400 air and anti-missile defense systems on Turkish soil are also stoking tensions between the two NATO allies.