The Turkish Democracy Project (TDP) has called on Lockheed Martin International to terminate all existing contracts with the Turkish defense industry, which is enabling President Erdogan’s regional aggression and destabilizing geopolitics.
In Fall 2021, TDP initiated a campaign investigating international companies with links to Erdogan’s authoritarian regime. Lockheed Martin has partnered with Turkey on several major defense programs. Turkey’s Lockheed-made F-16 fleet has notably been deployed in Syria and in the Nargorno-Karabakh conflict, all while Erdogan’s reckless saber-rattling has sown discord in Libya and stoked tensions with fellow NATO member Greece.
Last week, reports emerged that Turkey is poised to purchase a second round of Russia’s S-400 missile system. Erdogan’s original 2017 decision to purchase S-400s from Moscow led to the imposition of US sanctions against, amongst others, Faruk Yigit, chairman of Turkish missile manufacturer Roketsan. Lockheed Martin has worked closely with Rokestan, which is majority-owned by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, whose chairman is President Erdogan.
Having identified grave ethical, legal and commercial risks in Lockheed Martin’s ties to the Turkish defense manufacturing sector and the Turkish government, TDP sent a letter to Lockheed Martin’s Chairman and CEO, James D. Taiclet, on August 15, 2022.
Commenting on Lockheed Martin’s lack of response, Turkish Democracy Project’s CEO, Mark Wallace, said:
“Lockheed Martin must terminate all existing partnerships with the Turkish military-industrial complex, including defense manufacturer Roketsan. President Erdogan’s dangerous and aggressive policies are facilitated by Lockheed Martin’s high-tech weaponry. Support for companies like Roketsan enables the rampant corruption that has permeated the Turkish state and allowed President Erdogan to further his dangerous and authoritarian agenda.”