Italy and Turkey: A strategic alliance


New Member
Feb 16, 2009
(The article was originally published by Defence Turkey Magazine)

The friendship and the solid alliance between Italy and Turkey have deep roots. The Mediterranean is definitely one of the elements which bring our two countries nearer. It makes our peoples, cultures and politics so similar to each other. For decades, as members of the Atlantic Alliance, Turkey and Italy always shared the burdens and the risks linked to the need to keep a stable and fair international order.

In the Balkans, in Lebanon, in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, the Armed Forces of our two countries work side by side, relieving each other in the hardest tasks, to defend a precious and indivisible good: international security.

This common action marks not only the identity of our interests, but first and foremost the values that we share. Because our countries believe in peace, abroad and at home. Our countries are equally and hardly struggling to consolidate an international order based on the principle of a fair and efficient multilateralism.

It must be fair, because all communities and all identities must be equally represented and capable to make their voices heard. It must be efficient and able to give an answer to collective needs, avoiding that single vetoes could block the whole international community. Together we fight to defeat terrorism, which threatens our nations and the stability of our democratic systems.

Italy and Turkey share a common vision and a common action strategy. The deep friendship between our countries which has been reaffirmed in the first Intergovernmental Summit held in Izmir in November 2008, is not the final result of our relations but the point of departure for further joint actions in diplomacy, economy, culture and also to military operations aimed at the maintaining of peace.

At the beginning of 2009, Turkey took over Italy's non-permanent membership under the Security Council of the UN. After two years of permanence in the Council, Italy can now fully rely on the action the Turkish government will take to affirm once again the same values and principles which were the basis of Italian action.

Italy supports Turkey's aspirations in its path towards the European Union. The EU membership will be the final step of a difficult process which is anyway coherent with the ambitions and capabilities of Turkey.

Turkey may give a new decisive impetus to the action of the EU, particularly in areas where Turkey has strong and deep cultural and historical ties, such as Eastern Mediterranean, Caucasus and Central Asia.

I deem it is important to stress, last but not least, the extraordinary importance of Turkey for energy security not only for Italy, but for Europe as a whole. Because of its strategic position and above all for its stabilizing functions, Turkey is the strategic partner for all energy resources coming from the Caspian Region and - later on - the Persian Gulf.

Within this close cooperation framework between Italy and Turkey, we must underline the important role played by the cooperation in weapon systems production.

In both our countries defence industry plays a crucial role due to its valuable high technology features. It also works as an "Innovation engine" for the entire production system, thanks to spin-offs linked to the high investments in R&D, typical of the defence industry.

In Italy defence industry employs 51.000 workers, a high percentage of which is composed by highly qualified people, particularly in engineering and IT (information technology). As far as turnover of the defence industry is concerned, it accounts for the 1% of the total Italian GNP. Furthermore, our defence industry is one of the most dynamic and outward looking sectors in the whole Italian production system.

In last years, due to significant international buyouts of important foreign firms, Italian defence industry saw a considerable increase in its turnover, production range and R&D investments.

The buyouts of British Westland, American DRS Technologies and of US Manitowoc Marine Group have been great operations of industrial politics aiming to further strengthen Italian defence industry which has now strong transnational characteristics.

Today, and even more so in the future, defence industry is going to be one of the strongest elements in our country system. It is a huge legacy of top level knowledge and skills, which Italy wants to share with friends and allies.

Collaboration in defence industry between Turkey and Italy has proved itself through the decades as one of the most vital components of the strategic partnership between our countries.

In recent years, the level of our collaboration reached new peaks, in particular in helicopters and shipyards sectors. We have now established a real partnership, with an exchange of technologies and know-how enriching both countries.

Looking into the future and always keeping in mind our historical, cultural and political ties, I am sure that all conditions we may need in order to further enhance the cooperation between our countries in this crucial technological and industrial sector are already here.

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