The Altay tank, apparently a point of contention between Japan, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. (photo: Otokar)
A couple of months ago this blog, noting discussions on military cooperation between Japan and Turkey, asked "Would Japan Sell Weapons To Azerbaijan?" Now the answer to that appears to be: no.
Reuters on Friday reported that a proposed deal for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to supply tank engines to Turkey has fallen through because of export restrictions:
Mitsubishi Heavy had been under consideration to supply engines for the Altay tank being developed by Turkey's Otokar since last year.
But on Thursday Murad Bayar, Turkey's undersecretary for state-run defense industries, told reporters that the potential deal had been quietly dropped in talks with Tokyo.
"We have agreed with Japanese authorities to leave this topic off the agenda and focus on other areas of co-operation," Bayar said.
The report said that the sticking point was that Japan demanded a say on whether its equipment would be reexported to other countries. While the report doesn't specify which country/ies were the issue, previous reports in Turkey have suggested that it was Azerbaijan. (The Altay is a newly developed tank and has yet to be exported anywhere.) It sounds like everyone involved wants to keep the matter quiet, so we may never hear whether or not Azerbaijan was the issue, but it seems a safe bet.
Curiously, after news initially broke that Japan could supply the engine, a couple of reports appeared in the Azerbaijani press, including one just last week, about Japan selling military equipment, namely tank carriers, to Armenia. "Though Tokyo has stated that it does not sell military vehicles to conflicting countries, it has not kept the promise," APA reported. Given that the reports that APA cites were from 2012, it seems likely that the timing of the report is related to this deal falling through.