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What Happened: Two state-of-the-art warships are to be locally constructed for the Pakistani Navy as part of a transfer of technology agreement signed between Pakistan and Turkey. The contract for four MILGEM Class Corvettes equipped with modern weaponry and sensors was signed in 2018. Another two will be built in Turkey. A steel-cutting ceremony marking the beginning of construction was held in the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) yesterday, and attended by officials of the Pakistani Navy, representatives of Turkey’s state-run defence firm ASFAT and the Managing Director of KSEW, Rear Admiral Ather Saleem, reports Anadolu Agency.
Importance: Last week, the keel-laying – or the formal recognition of the start of construction ceremony for the first ship was held at Turkey’s Istanbul Navy Shipyard. During a previous ceremony, in October 2019, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi cut the first metal plate of the first MILGEM ship. The Pakistani Navy will receive the first two MILGEM ships in 2023 and the remaining two by 2025. The construction of the ships in Pakistan will help promote the shipbuilding industry. The construction of MILGEM-class ships reflects the strong bonds that exist between Pakistan and Turkey. These ships will be among the most technologically advanced platforms in the country and will significantly contribute in maintaining the balance of power in Indian Ocean Region.
TURKEY ISSUES ARREST WARRANTS TO 275 MILITARY MEMBERS OVER ‘GULEN LEAKS’
What Happened: Turkish authorities yesterday ordered the arrest of 275 military personnel on suspicion of having links to US based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Ankara accuses of planning the failed coup of 2016. The Anadolu Agency said the Turkish police have coordinated their operation from the western city of Izmir and targeted people in 22 provinces, adding that 145 suspects have already been arrested.
Importance: These are some of the largest arrests since the failed coup of 2016 and indicate that threat to President Erdogan from within the Turkish military in particular and Gulenist movement in general has not faded. AKP’s popularity has also declined in recent years due to massive economic crunch exacerbated by Syrian refugee influx in the country. Unless economic woes are addressed, Gulenist inside Turkey will continue to find support from within the society and different instituions.