Saudi Arabia 'cancels $2 billion shipbuilding contract' with Turkey

Saudi Arabia 'cancels $2 billion shipbuilding contract' with Turkey
Riyadh appears to be making room in its budgets to accommodate a recent multi-billion dollar arms deal with the United States, having mothballed four warships being built by Turkey.
2 min read
30 May, 2017
Shipyard workers rest at Tuzla port, near Istanbul [AFP]

Saudi Arabia has cancelled an arms deal with Turkey involving four warships worth $2 billion on Sunday.

The deal was reportedly cancelled in the wake of Saudi’s $110 billion arms deal with the United States earlier this month.

It is not known if the two decisions were linked, however several international pundits have asked pointed questions whether Saudi Arabia can afford its latest arms deal with Washington.

The warships were reportedly purchased in a 2004 deal and were being produced by Turkish shipbuilder STM in Tuzla, Istanbul.

Hurriyet News wrote that Saudi Arabia preferred to make a sword dance with US President Donald Trump than continue its friendship with “one of the pioneers of the arms industry”.

The cancellation will have a big effect on the local economy in Tuzla, where many local people are employed under the MILGEM project, the country’s national warship programme.

Most western countries have sidelined Tuzla port in Istanbul, meaning that a large proportion of its industry comes from Gulf countries looking to refurbish and build warships.

Sources earlier told The New Arab that the US-Saudi deal may well exceed the $350 billion mark pencilled out for the next ten years.