Wary of political problems and licensing restrictions with its traditional western suppliers, Turkey is turning toward Asian markets for new deals, including the development of a tank engine with Japan and the sale of new armored vehicles to Malaysia.

“Defense cooperation will make one of the backbones of the visit. There will be several follow-up meetings and deals in the coming months,” an aide to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said ahead of the premier’s high-profile visit to Japan, Singapore and Malaysia this month.

As part of that official tour, Japan and Turkey agreed Jan. 7 to begin talks on an economic partnership agreement, part of a drive to build closer ties as they step up cooperation on nuclear technology. […]