The sources said the Defense Ministry relayed the formal request for two
U.S. UAV systems in December 2008. They said the request was for the
Predator as well as the MQ-9 Reaper, also by General Atomics.
The request has been reviewed by the U.S. State Department and Defense
Department and relayed to Congress. The sources said a reply was expected by
The sources said the UAV request was raised by Turkish leaders during
the Obama visit to Turkey on April 6-7. They said administration officials
pledged to accelerate the review process.
"Turkey is a critical ally," Obama said during his visit.
Turkey has failed in efforts to produce a tactical UAV for
reconnaissance missions. Instead, the Turkish military has been deploying a
range of Israeli-origin UAVs, including the Heron medium-altitude,
long-endurance system by Israel Aerospace Industries.
The sources said Ankara has requested that the Reaper be sold with
air-to-ground rockets. But they said Congress, which contains several key
pro-Greek members, was likely to refuse to sell any armed UAV to Turkey.