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Vehicles Made in Turkey Win Defense Ministry Contract

Multimillion dollar Defense Ministry leasing contracts will involve Turkish-made Hyundai cars, even as Israelis boycott Turkey's resorts.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 6/30/2010, 7:50 PM / Last Update: 6/30/2010, 7:45 PM

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Despite heightened tension with Turkey, and a voluntary boycott of Turkish resorts by Israeli tourists, the Israeli Defense Ministry has approved two large contracts for leasing thousands of Turkish-manufactured cars.

Last week, the Defense Ministry published the results of a tender for the leasing-purchase of cars for IDF officers. Officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel and higher will receive Hyundai Accent subcompacts that are manufactured in the South Korean company's plant in Turkey.

Financial publication Globes estimated that the deal will pump 22 to 25 million dollars into the Turkish economy. In addition, IDF officers with the rank of major will receive Hyundai i20s, also manufactured in Turkey, at a plant that was transferred there from India in order to cut costs.

The Defense Ministry issued a clarification, noting that the cars are not being bought but leased, and  that the contract was awarded to Israeli companies that lease the cars, but do not import them themselves. “The IDF does not buy Hyundai vehicles or any other kind of vehicle,” the ministry explained. “This is a leasing contract in which car models were selected based on parameters of quality and price.”

The ministry added that there is no government decision banning purchases in Turkey, and thus “trade between the nations continues despite recent events.”