By: Sylvia Caravotas, November 13, 2016

South Africa’s maritime is receiving much-needed attention to ensure it can manage the escalating security challenges in the region. On the agenda, is the South African Navy’s historic Naval Station on Salisbury Island in Durban, which is undergoing a massive revamp to transform it into a functioning Naval Base.


Spokesperson for the SA Navy, Cdr P.G. van den Berg, stated that the footprint of the SA Navy in Durban will continue to grow. Durban is not only the busiest commercial port in SA, but a strategic location for the SA Navy allowing ease of access to the east coast of South Africa, Africa, and the Indian Ocean enabling the navy to readily assist with maritime operations.
According to SA Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the upgrade will also contribute towards the ocean economy under Operation Phakisa: “This initiative is significant, considering 50% of our trade is through the blue economy. The SANDF and South Africa will be making contributions to the ocean economy in this regard and further increasing capacity as an integral part and leader in Indian Ocean navies.”

The SA Navy was deeply affected by budget cuts in 2002 when the Durban Naval Base on Salisbury Island was downgraded to a Naval Station. However, the Navy began rethinking the station when a surge in piracy made patrolling the Mozambique Channel from Naval Base Simon’s Town on the Cape Peninsula ineffective. At the groundbreaking ceremony in December 2015, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula stated that: “It is a process to reverse what happened in the past, when there was a decision to downscale and eventually close what was then a budding navy facility and move all the facilities to Simon’s Town. We are now wiser.”


Vessels to be acquired under Project Biro. The plan is to increase the base’s workshop and dockyard capacity to perform all required docking and essential defects (DEDs) and planned maintenance for the patrol vessels. Rear Admiral Bubele Mhlana, Flag Officer Fleet, stated that they would like to avoid ships that are home-ported in Durban coming down to Simon’s Town for maintenance. Project Biro is currently on hold, according to Armscor Chief Executive Kevin Wakeford, due to a review of the budget before a decision on the continuation of the contracting process is made. The situation is similar for the replacement of SAS Protea, the SA Navy’s hydrographic vessel (Project Hotel).

The upgrade has not been without its challenges and the Navy is struggling to regain access to buildings it lost fifteen years ago. Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane, Chief of the SA Navy, stated that around R200 million is needed to upgrade the facilities and redeploy personnel back to Durban. Although a large undertaking, the newly upgraded Durban Naval Base together with Naval Base Simon’s Town will better position the SA Navy to cover both the west and east coast of South Africa, the region, and will contribute to Operation Phakisa by protecting SA’s territorial waters and maritime resources.

Source : OIDA Strategic Intelligence


Denel Land Systems profits triple over last financial year

Written by defenceWeb

Monday, 27 August 2012

Earnings before interest and taxes for defence company Denel Land Systems increased from R9 million to R23 million for the 2012 financial year. The company was recently boosted by a record 340 million euro (R3.5 billion) contract with Malaysia to supply a range of turret and integrated weapon systems for its 8 x 8 armoured infantry fighting vehicles.

Denel Land Systems’ turnover for the 2012 financial year amounted to R546 million, down slightly from R554 million the year before. Export turnover increased dramatically, from R73 million to R262 million, according to Denel’s Annual Report 2012.

Although Denel Land Systems’ (DLS’s) financial performance was good over the last financial year, the company’s confirmed order book dropped by a third for the 2012 financial year, reaching R402 million, down from R680 million.

On May 17, 2011, Denel received ‘the largest landward system export contract in SA’s history’, when it received the Malaysian contract. DLS will be responsible for supplying 69 x two man turrets fitted with the South African GI30 30mm main gun; 54 x missile turrets equipped with the GI30 30mm gun and Denel Dynamics Ingwe anti-tank missile system; and 54 x remote control weapons systems. The turrets will be exported to Malaysia over a seven year period – with the first consignment ready for delivery this coming January. The turrets and weapon systems will be integrated on the Malaysian Army’s new 8 x 8 vehicles which are based on the Pars armoured vehicle platforms from the Turkish company, FNSS.

Denel said the future outlook in terms of potential prospects being pursued will double DLS’s turnover within the next three years – for instance, DLS successfully demonstrated a new weapon management system for artillery to international clients. The company also highlighted the successful business turnaround and the steady growth over the past five years of DLS. The company’s workforce has a head count of 420, an increase of 29 compared to the previous year.

Denel Land Systems designs, develops, integrates, supplies and supports landward based high-mobility, high-firepower product systems, combat turrets, rapid-fire small and medium calibre weapons, new generation combat vehicle systems, as well as artillery systems. DLS’s combat proven systems are in service in several countries.

Arguably its biggest project at the moment is producing the ‘Badger’ family of new generation infantry combat vehicles (ICV), under project ‘Hoefyster’. The development of variants continues apace, with a significant milestone of the product baseline for the ‘section variant’ achieved on 10 September 2010. This simultaneously kick-started a countdown process towards the much anticipated production order, with another four variants following closely behind the lead prototype vehicle, Denel said.

Project Hoefyster is utilising five modular combat turret variants, armed with the home-grown GI-30 (30 mm CamGun) and 60 mm breech-loading long-range mortar system. The Ingwe anti-tank missile system is integrated into the anti-tank variant of the 8 x 8 armoured modular vehicle platforms. The aim of project Hoefyster is to replace the South African Army’s ageing fleet of Ratel infantry combat vehicles in a phased approach, whilst also creating specific export potential.

Another notable achievement over the last financial year for DLS came when it obtained a vehicle capability after taking a majority stake in LMT Holdings (Pty) Ltd. This will enable DLS to produce the Badger, which is a local version of the Finnish Patria combat vehicle.

Denel recently announced that, as part of restructuring designed to save money and increase efficiencies, Denel Land Systems and Mechem will be integrated into a single entity. At the group’s headquarters in Irene, Denel Dynamics will incorporate the division responsible for the design and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) as well as Denel Integrated Systems Solutions.


Denel Dynamics Missiles earnings up for 2012

Written by defenceWeb

Thursday, 02 August 2012

Denel Dynamics Missiles has posted improved earnings for the 2012 financial year, with earnings before interest and taxes of R11 million, up from R5 million the previous year.

Denel’s Annual Report 2012 revealed that the unit recorded a turnover of R619 million for 2012 (down from R729 million the previous year) and export turnover of R194 million (up slightly from R192 million the previous year). Denel noted that, historically, Denel Dynamics Missiles has posted financial losses due to onerous contracts, amongst other factors. Although it has recorded marginal profits for the second successive year, its order cover and the closure of key contracts remain challenges.

The company’s confirmed order book is down by R117 million, at R598 million for the 2012 financial year ending March. Denel said one of the unit’s highlights was the posting of a nominal profit, with a continued year-on-year improvement in overall business performance in accordance with the “Voyage to Excellence” programme launched in 2007.

Some of the unit’s highlights include the conclusion of Umkhonto missile deliveries to a European country, which were completed in 2011/2012.

Denel Dynamics Missiles said the development of the A-Darter missile is on track for production to commence in 2014. Final missile qualification and performance validation is under way to achieve critical technical milestones in 2012/13 and 2013/14. As part of this evaluation the first two successful guided missile firings from a Gripen aircraft were successfully completed during February 2012. A-Darter is being developed jointly by South Africa and Brazil. “The success of this joint development is likely to lead to further alliances with other developing nations. There are discussions about follow-on collaborative projects and marketing strategies,” Denel said.

Denel Dynamics CEO, Jan Wessels earlier this year said that, “I believe the DoD will contribute to the funding of a follow-up development missile programme, but its exact nature and funding model are still under discussion.”

In May 2011, Denel Dynamics Missiles concluded a contract for the sale of the Umbani precision guided bomb kit to an export customer. “This contract is a prime example of how the substantial investment in intellectual property over a number of years has been afforded an opportunity to yield a return for SA,” Denel said.

Other notable achievements included the integration and flight-testing of the Ingwe missile on the Eurocopter EC635 helicopter and the first flight test with an alternative multipurpose warhead. In addition, Denel Dynamics Missiles introduced the fire-and-forget configuration of its Raptor stand-off weapon. The full autonomous flight was a first for the Raptor weapon system.

Denel Dynamics Missiles employs 732 people. Its current range of products and systems includes the A-Darter, the Umkhonto-IR air defence missile, the Ingwe and Mokopa anti-armour missiles, precision-guided munitions and the Raptor II stand-off weapon.


French helicopter carrier FS Dixmude visits Cape Town

Written by Dean Wingrin

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The French Navy Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship FS Dixmude docked in Cape Town yesterday, accompanied by the anti-submarine frigate FS Georges Leygues.

The two Marine Nationale vessels arrived in Table Bay Harbour yesterday morning for what been described by the French Navy as “bilateral cooperation and defence diplomacy”.

They are operating as the Jean D’Arc Mission, which is a training deployment for officers-to-be and concludes their curriculum at the naval academy. The sea deployment rounds of their naval academy training and allows them to put their theoretical knowledge into practise.

Asked about their five-day visit to Cape Town, Captain Guillaume Goutay, Commanding Officer of Dixmude, replied that they were in South Africa to work with the SA Navy on anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare exercises.

Escorted by the frigate, Dixmude left Toulon, France, in March for her five month deployment. After operational amphibious training in the Mediterranean, the Mission for three weeks participated in anti-piracy duties as part of the European Union’s Operation Atalanta. Goutay confirmed that they did not encounter any pirates.

Following their departure from Cape Town, the Mission will visit Rio de Janeiro in Brazil before deploying to the Gulf of Guinea as part of the patrol of French maritime areas overseas.

“We will also one have one South African Navy cadet on board for the two week trip to Brazil,” Goutay added. The cadet will join the other 144 midshipmen (including 21 women) from 16 countries aboard the Dixmude. Many of the cadets rotate between the Dixmude and Georges Leygues during the deployment.

Under Project Millennium, the South African Navy has a requirement for an amphibious transport ship similar to the FS Dixmude. The navy is pressing for two LHD-style 20,000-tonne strategic support ships, very similar to the 21,600 ton Mistral class Dixmude. The LHD is capable of accommodating 16 helicopters, four landing craft and up to 110 armoured vehicles. Living quarters are capable of comfortably accepting 450 troops, while a large hospital is equipped with 69 beds.

While Goutay denied that the purpose of their visit was to market the ship to South Africa, a small exposition is being held onboard. While Mistral class ships have visited Cape Town before, it is certain that members of the SA Navy and government defence procurement officials will take a keen interest in the capabilities the ship has to offer to South Africa in the peace-keeping, disaster support and diplomacy roles.

For both Goutay and the Commanding Officer of Georges Leygues, Captain Jean-Marin d’Hebrail, this is their first visit to Cape Town and they’re looking forward to visiting Table Mountain and sampling the fine wines the Cape Peninsular has to offer.

As Goutay mentioned, “We are French!”


South Africa’s restored Cheetah fighters make Ecuador debut

By Stephen Trimble


Ecuador has received 12 ex-South African Air Force Cheetah C/D fighters, ordered in late 2010, from Denel Aviation.

Ecuador President Rafael Correa Delgado announced on 21 January that the entire batch of 12 fighters has arrived from South Africa.

The 10 C-model and two D-model Cheetahs had been in storage since their retirement from service in South Africa four years ago. Ecuadorian officials visited South Africa in April 2009 to start negotiations, and signed a $78 million contract in December 2010. The deal also includes five years of maintenance support.

The Cheetah was developed in the 1980s during South Africa’s apartheid regime. Israeli and South African engineers modified Dassault Mirage IIIs with a modern suite of avionics, radar, and electronic warfare systems, creating a configuration similar to Israel’s Kfir.

The Cheetahs are expected to replace Ecuador’s fleet of 12 ageing Mirage F1s.

Ecuador bought the Cheetah fleet shortly after a border crisis with the Colombian air force, which was accused of violating Ecuadorian airspace to attack suspected guerrilla camps.

Since 2008, the Ecuadorian air force has also acquired or ordered Dhruv advanced light helicopters from India’s Hindustan Aeronautics, Xian MA60 transports from China, unmanned air vehicles from Israel, and Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano light attack fighters from Brazil, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Source: Flight International

South Africa Stars On Top Gear

Posted by Bill Sweetman at 6/27/2011

Paramount’s Marauder protected vehicle has become a TV star. In the premier show in the latest series of BBC’s cultural icon Top Gear, co-host Richard Hammond drove the Marauder over cars, through walls, through a McDonalds in Johannesburg and through a pride of lions, after which the TG team tried to blow it up.

Quite the PR coup for South Africa’s Paramount. At the LAAD show in Rio de Janeiro in April, I had a chance to talk to Paramount CEO John Craig about the fast-growing company’s plans. A few highlights: The mine/blast-resistant Marauder and the Matador personnel carrier are in production in Baku, Azerbaijan (a follow-on order was announced in May) and the company is collaborating with the United Arab Emirates to set up a plant there to serve the Middle East market. The bigger 6X6 Mbombe is likely to be marketed the same way.

Under an agreement with India’s Ashok Leyland, Paramount is chasing the Indian market — with Paramount-designed vehicles tailored to local defense and security requirements — and also offering a low-cost Marauder option with Ashok Leyland running gear. You can also, Craig says, get the up-market Marauder with a MAN diesel and ZF transmission, or a Cummins/Allison version if you want commonality with US vehicles.

Another Paramount line of business involves ex-South African AF Mirage F1AZs. Through Aerosud (in which Paramount has a 19 per cent stake), Paramount refurbishes and updates the French fighters and has supplied them to Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon, together with a complete turnkey training, maintenance and spares package. Paramount has « the world’s largest supersonic private air force », Craig says.

The company offers a package to support peacekeeping forces working under contract to the United Nations and African Union. Mostly from African states, these forces often don’t have the equipment and logistics required to deploy outside their home country. Paramount arranges finance for the new equipment, and gets paid back from UN and AU payments to the participating country. Expect more news from Paramount soon.

Source: Ares Blog

NCACC should investigate Ratel infantry vehicles in Yemen: DA

Written by Leon Engelbrecht

Wednesday, 08 June 2011 14:22

The National Conventional Arms Committee (NCACC) should launch an investigation into how converted Ratel infantry vehicles, previously operated by the South African Army, found their way to Yemen. That’s the view of the opposition Democratic Alliance party. Various news services, including Reuters, have in recent days posted photographs of at least one Ratel in the hands of rebel troops in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

“The NCACC’s latest annual report records that R373.8 million worth of conventional arms were sold to Yemen in 2010,” DA defence shadow minister David Maynier says. “Conventional arms exports to Yemen last year included R239.4 million worth of ‘Category A’ conventional weapons, which are described as ‘major conventional implements of war that could cause heavy personnel casualties.

‘ Maynier says there is no evidence suggesting that the Ratel infantry vehicles were exported directly from South Africa to Yemen. However, the UN Register of Conventional Arms shows 100 were exported to Jordan in 2003 and 221 in 2004. These were refurbished by the government King Abdullah Design & Development Bureau with the reported assistance of the South African Paramount Group and Mechanology Design Bureau (MDB). The upgrade included fitting an Ukrainian BAU-23×2 turret to the vehicles. It is such a vehicle that has been filmed in Sanaa.

It is not clear how many of the vehicles have been supplied to Yemen, nor by whom or when. As far as can be determined, the NCACC would have a veto over the re-export of the vehicles by Jordan. Senior officials at both Paramount and at Emerging World Technologies – the former MDB – said this morning they were in the dark about the development. The NCACC acknowledged receipt of defenceWeb’s query and undertook to respond, but had not done so by time of publication.


BAE Systems, Denel & Jorsin keeps Ratels at the ready

Five work orders for the maintenance and repair of the veteran BAE Systems Ratel Mk3 infantry combat vehicle product system takes the known amount spent on keeping the operational with the South African Army to over R96 613 428.41 since 2007.

The contracts include work worth R7 891 905.91 to Jorsin the Group CC for general maintenance and repair and R3 001 285.50 to Denel Land Systems for the supply of 20mm automatic gun and 90mm turret items as well as four contracts to BAE Systems for the maintenance and repair of transmissions (R3 625 836.00), the maintenance and repair of dropdown gearboxes (R380 411.10), the supply of various A and E class spares (R6 270 741.20) and the maintenance and repair Ratel MK3 A-class spares and components (R9 043 214,00).

The Ratel has now been in service for 34 years. It is an indigenous design developed in the early 1970s to replace the Saracen armoured personnel carrier. The prototype was delivered in 1974 and the first production vehicle in 1976. The Mk2 entered production in 1979 and the Mk3 in 1988. The Mk3 fleet was upgraded in 2001 when about 70 modifications were made.

Writing in the Engineering News in October 2008, Keith Campbell described the development of the Ratel as follows: “This programme started in the early 1970s, when the South African Army evaluated four AFVs – the Unimog UR-416 from Germany, the French Panhard M3, the Brazilian Engesa Urutu, and a vehicle from local company Springfield Bussing, confusingly named Buffel” [confusingly, as this name was already being used for a mine-protected troop carrier].

Campbell added the three foreign designs were all armoured personnel carriers – “basically, armoured ‘battle taxis’, armed only with a machine gun, which carried troops into battle, at which point they had to disembark to fight”. He noted the SA Army decided to go with a new concept instead. Variously called the armoured infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV) or infantry combat vehicle (ICV), this was pioneered by the Soviet Army in the form of the BMP-1 and the West German Army in the shape of the Marder.

“An AIFV carries a powerful gun (20 mm or 30 mm) as well as a squad of troops, who have their own vision ports and firing ports, so that they can fight from within the vehicle,” Campbell wrote. “So, around 1975/1976, the South African Army decided to adopt an AIFV based on the Springfield Bussing vehicle. This became the Ratel (honey badger, in English), which was mass-produced by Sandock Austral. A monocoque design, the Ratel hulls were made in Sandock Austral’s Durban dockyard and taken by rail to Boksburg for fitting out. The turrets were based on those on the Eland armoured cars – the 20-mm gun turret of the standard Ratel IFV, for example, was a redesigned Eland 90 turret.

A whole family of Ratels was developed – command vehicles, fire support vehicles (with 90mm gun turrets taken from Eland), mortar vehicles (with 60mm breech-loading mortar turrets taken from Eland 60s), and, later, tank destroyers armed with Denel Dynamics ZT3 Ingwe antitank missiles, and mortar carriers with 81mm muzzle-loading mortars carried in what had been the troop compartment.

The Ratel is scheduled for partial replacement by the Badger, some 264 of which are slated for production under Project Hoefyster.


Denel unit under margin pressure

25 mai, 2011

Paul Vecchiatto

While the loss-making Denel Saab Aerostructures will show an improvement in this financial year, funding of the company remains a critical issue as margins remain under severe pressure, according to Tshediso Matona, the director-general of the Department of Public Services.

Delivering a briefing to the Parliamentary oversight committee on public service on Tuesday, Matona said that talks were still in progress with privately owned aerospace company Aerosud to replace Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab, which sold its 20% stake in April.

Aeorsud made an unsolicited offer in December, but discussions around the possible stake and its size were still ongoing.

A key Aerosud shareholder is private arms manufacturer Paramount Group, whose executive chairman is well-known businessman and African National Congress (ANC) supporter Ivor Ichikowitz.

Matona told the committee that Denel Saab Aerostructures remained a key strategic challenge to state-owned arms manufacturer Denel.

Denel Saab Aerostructures is key to the Airbus Military A400M large military transport aircraft programme. Wing fuselage sections are manufactured by Denel Saab Aerostructures for the A400M and these are transported to Spain for final assembly.

Airbus Military has 174 confirmed orders for the military transport aircraft, with France ordering 50, the UK 22, Spain 22, Germany 53, Turkey 10, Malaysia four and Luxemburg one. The mature production rate should be about 2.5 aircraft per month, beginning next year when the first aircraft are due to be delivered to the French Air Force.

SA signed a deal originally valued at 18 billion rand to participate in the production and to buy a minimum of eight aircraft. However, two years ago Defense Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said SA would pull out of purchasing the aircraft as the total programme cost had accelerated to 47 billion rand – a figure disputed by Airbus Military.

Despite the troubled A400M program, Denel Saab Aerostructures continued to prepare itself to manufacture portions of the aircraft allocated to it.

Figures presented by Matona were that Denel Saab Aerostructures’s earnings before income tax was a loss of 259 million rand for the year ending in February. This is on top of a loss of 283 million rand for the year ended March 2010 and 444 million rand for the 2009 financial year.

He said that Denel Saab Aerostructures had begun a restructuring process that included reducing its labour costs, improvement in financial management and governance, reducing rental costs, implementing shared services with Denel Aviation and outsourcing non-core activities.

As part of the restricting of the company, headcount would be reduced from just less than 400 people to about 258 in 2015.

However, Matona said the company was strategic to SA and that its economic impact was conservatively estimated to be about 3,000 jobs. It produced R760 million in consumer revenue and paid about 180 million rand in taxes.

Matona asserted that Denel Saab Aerostructures was operating in a high-tech and advanced manufacturing sector and fell within the ambit of the Industrial Policy Action Plan II, which promoted the country’s advanced long-term manufacturing capabilities.

He said Denel Saab Aerostructures was targeting other aircraft manufactures such as Hondajet, Gulfstream and Lockheed Martin.


Azerbaijan order 60 more Marauder and 30 Matador

The Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence Industries (MDI) has extended a joint production agreement with the Paramount Group and has ordered the joint construction of 60 new mine protected vehicles in Baku. The order consists of 30 Marauder and 30 Matador mine protected vehicles with deliveries running through to late 2012.

The announcement follows Paramount Group’s recent successful establishment of a joint production facility and the production of an initial 30 vehicles (15 Matador and 15 Marauders) to the Azerbaijan MDI, under a joint production agreement set up in 2009.

Marauder is an IED and mine protected vehicle designed to operate in built-up and confined urban settings. It can carry of crew of ten and be configured as either a troop carrier or combat vehicle. In addition to its excellent blast protection Marauder is fitted with a double-skinned hull throughout the cabin and crew compartment to protect it against kinetic attack up to STANAG 4569 Level III.

Matador carries a crew of 14 and was conceived for long range military or peacekeeping operations with the ability to handle the most rugged and demanding terrains. It also has a top speed of 100 km/h and will protect its crew from 14 kg TNT detonated directly underneath the hull or 21 kg of TNT if detonated under any wheel, without rupture to the hull.

Commenting on the new order, the country’s Minister of Defence Industry, Yaver Jamalov, said: “Both Matador and Marauder are highly flexible and advanced IED-protected vehicles that ideally meet the requirements of our armed forces. We chose Paramount Group’s vehicles because they are the most technologically advanced on the market and are flexible enough to deal with a variety of situations.

“Since 2009 we have had a robust partnership with Paramount Group based around our firm belief in the creation of a strong local defence industry and we look forward to continuing to benefit from this partnership by further developing Azerbaijan’s engineering skills and vehicle production capacity. Partnerships like this show the world that the future of Europe’s defence industry is no longer in the hands of a few west European manufacturers.”

Commenting on the new order, Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, said the agreement is great news for both Paramount Group and Azerbaijan. “It shows that our original project to produce 30 vehicles in Azerbaijan has been an outstanding success for all involved and is a testament to the foresight of President Ilham Aliyev in seeking to establish a production base for the future success of the country.

“Paramount Group is a world leader in the development of mine-protected vehicle technology. We apply a ‘blank sheet’ approach to design which means we develop the most modern technology for our vehicles. Our success in Azerbaijan gives Paramount a firm foothold in Eastern Europe from which to explore future joint production partnerships.

“A key benefit of our continued partnership is that Paramount Group is able to establish joint production facilities with the Ministry of Defence Industry of Azerbaijan, which helps the wider development of high-technology industries and the skilled workforce they require. This ‘in-country’ approach is key to Paramount Group’s philosophy of sharing the economic and technical benefits of hi-tech production with countries where our vehicles are produced,” Ichkovitz added.

Paramount Group is keen to form mutually beneficial partnerships with governments as part of its growth strategy. In 2010 it agreed a joint venture with Ashok Leyland, a leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, and earlier this year two more joint ventures were signed. One was with the United Arab Emirates’ International Golden Group for the production of vehicles in-country, and the other with Griffon Aerospace Middle East.

The Azerbaijan MDI exhibited its production Matador and Marauder vehicles at the International Defence Industry Fair in Istanbul, Turkey, last week.