In a show of patriotism Turkey’s state-owned small arms manufacturer MKEK (Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation) has delivered the next batch of new MPT-76 rifles to the Turkish Army ahead of schedule.
With staff reportedly working overtime the next shipment of MPT-76s was shipped out on 12th February. The shipment was the largest to date totalling 4,500 rifles, filling 5 trucks. Part of an initial order for 20,000 rifles, the first shipment of which was delivered back in January 2017.
The MPT-76 is a 7.62x51mm battle rifle, based on the AR-10. Set to replace the Turkish Army’s G3A7 with production of 250,000 rifles planned by 2026. With Turkish ground forces currently involved in operations in Northern Syria against the Kurdish PKK, MKE pushed hard to deliver the next batch of rifles ahead of schedule.
Local garrison commander Brigadier General Selami Arslan, Gendarmerie commander Colonel İbrahim Ayhan Vural, and MKE Executive Vice President Akif Akgün were all present at the ceremony to see off the delivery trucks. Milmag reported that MKE paid for the trucks to transport the rifles themselves. The ceremony included speeches, prayers and celebratory gunfire and was widely covered by a number of Turkish media outlets including Hürriyet and Doğan Haber Ajansı.
The governor of Kırıkkale province, where MKE’s factory is based, Mehmet İlker Haktankaçmaz said in a speech outside the factory [courtesy of google translate]:
We are going through a period in which our national sentiments… are breaking, and our heroic security forces, our country, our state, your nationality is fighting against heroic terrorist organizations for the security of our country, our nationality and our national security… Today we are here for the delivery ceremony of our National Infantry Weapons, where the MKE Weapon Factory is the greatest supporter of the fighting heroes there.
MKE’s factory manager Mehmet Oçakcıoğlu said in his speech said [courtesy of google translate]:
As a weapons factory, we continue to manufacture weapons with all our power. Our former retired workers reported that they were ready to work again. Our weapons are our best weapon in the world now produced in the world. If someone writes MKE is not the best weapon, it is the best weapon, and also a world leader. MKE is able to make better weapons. We will accomplish this.
A final batch of 5,000 guns are due to be delivered to the Turkish army in late April, early May 2018. This will complete the initial 20,000 rifle order agreed back in 2015.