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DEFENSE UPDATE > Congress to Ankara: No China interoperability with US money

Burak BEKDİL

Congress’ budget move to block US funding to make Turkey’s planned China air defense system interoperable with NATO assets could make the Chinese offer more expensive

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The US Patriot air defense system, seen in the photo, is one of the systems competing for Turkey’s long-range anti-missile and air defense systems
DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The US Patriot air defense system, seen in the photo, is one of the systems competing for Turkey’s long-range anti-missile and air defense systems DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

A move in Congress’ 2014 defense spending bill banning the use of U.S. funding to integrate a Chinese air and anti-missile defense shield with NATO/U.S. systems was not surprising for the Turkish defense bureaucracy, but it may make the Chinese offer “financially less attractive,” Turkish officials and defense industry sources have said.

A U.S. diplomat said the budget move aimed to block “the silly idea” that a Turkish-Chinese air defense system could be made interoperable with NATO/U.S. assets with the help of U.S. money.

“Why should Washington sponsor something that it views as being against the nature of allied defense. Remember, the U.S. is the top sponsor of NATO money, and it has a right to say where this money is to be used and where it is not,” the diplomat said.

Turkey’s defense procurement bureaucracy remains divided regarding possible repercussions. “We are not surprised by this. But this is not a game changer during the process. We would expect our American allies to try and improve their own offers instead of trying to apply more pressure. At the end of the day, we may not need the U.S. or NATO and instead just use our own money to make the system interoperable,” one senior procurement official said.

But another official familiar with the program said that Congress’ move probably aimed to make the Chinese solution financially less attractive. “If we use Turkish money to make the system interoperable with NATO assets it will make the Chinese offer more expensive than it is. If the Chinese are prepared to share the extra burden it will make the contract less attractive for the Chinese,” the official said.

According to Congress’ budget plan, if the 2014 U.S. defense spending bill goes through as proposed, it will ban the use of U.S. funding to integrate Chinese missile defense systems with U.S. or NATO systems.

Murad Bayar, the head of the Undersecretariat for Defense Procurement, told the Hürriyet Daily News in an October interview that full integration with NATO assets was an explicit condition in the contract for the planned air defense system.

“As part of this program, a Turkish defense company will be tasked with integrating the air defense system into a network operated by the Turkish Air Force. That integration will mean integration with NATO assets, too, since the Turkish system is fully integrated with the NATO system,” Bayar said.

The Chinese bid from China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp. (CPMIEC), which won the tender on Sept. 26, came in at $3.44 billion. The initial contract price was estimated at $4 billion.

Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz announced after a high level defense industry meeting on Sept. 26 that a contract for the construction of long-range air and anti-missile system had been awarded to the China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp. (CPMIEC).

The Chinese contender defeated a U.S. partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot air defense system; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S-300; and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30.

Under the program, dubbed T-LORAMIDS, Turkey is currently holding contract negotiations with CPMIEC, the front-runner of the competition and, if these talked fail, will start negotiations with the Eurosam consortium, the second best offer according to a grading of bids. The U.S. Patriot system was ranked third, and the Russian option has been eliminated entirely.

December/12/2013

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READER COMMENTS

Notice on comments

Ken Alden

12/13/2013 1:59:50 AM

@Bury, you repeat what you hear, never bothering with the facts! During the Turkish War of independence, the victorious Redsi of Russian Civil War, loaned Gold Turkeyto buy Arms to defeat the British proxy, the Greeks, because they didn't want to have borders with Brits, remembering Anglo-American invasion of the Archangelsk, to supply arms to the 'Whites" In late 1930'es Stalin demanded concesessions or return of Gold! With the War going on in Europe, there was no trade going on.

Ken Alden

12/13/2013 1:46:49 AM

@Bury, Turkey was on the edge of Bankrupcy. Turkey traded Germany the Low Grade Cromium ore ore for Gold! The ore is so low grade that today one can't even hardly give it away! In any case with Ruhr being bombed into smitherins, the ore did't mater. If Soviets had gotten their consession the control of the Straits, Europe of today would be Red! Turkey can patially step out of Nato but ,still have Veto power & return at will! See precedent set by France's Charles DeGaule in the 1950's!

Eric Martin

12/12/2013 10:34:32 PM

I don't see a problem with either integrating into the Nato network or just use it as standalone. I like the Chinese choice because it's cheap and nowhere in Nato's charter did it say we must buy American weapons and planes. The USA was flipping out we would Russian fighterjets too. Too bad USA. If you want Turkey in to use Patriots then give them away for free.

turkic voice

12/12/2013 10:20:28 PM

The technology of integrating the missile defence is to be done by the Turks to broaden there knowledge in this technology not by USA. turkey is not a Burdon on NATO it is NATO that is being supported by the Turks, turkey is also the second largest contributor to NATO and have saved the USA in dyer situations from slaughter in Korea. Americas only other option, if it wants to keep turkey away from such technology would be to re quote the defence system, Turkey should manufacture some in future

Pawel Bury

12/12/2013 7:40:03 PM

@Ken, Turkey had signed a Mutual Aid Pact with France and Britain in 1939. After the German invasion of France, however, Turkey remained neutral until a few months before the end of war and actually supplied Germany with lots of raw materials. These are the facts of WW2. Historically @Aryeh is absolutely right, Turkey should not be a member of NATO. And that would be the case if Turkey was not close to Russia. Now it seems she is pulling herself out. You should feel unconfortable about this...

Murat

12/12/2013 7:37:22 PM

Who says Turks asked for US money to do integration? Bayar will open another tender for the integration, Turkey will pay for it and another Turkish company will build it. Simple. Plus, these sytems work fine without integration and serve their functions. Numerous NATO countries have weapons of non-NATO origin, what is the big deal? This is an issue for US companies more than NATO, let us not get two confused. The hot air generated alone justifies looking for other reliable sources!

JRC JRC

12/12/2013 7:20:59 PM

A few days ago Murad Bayar made a tacit admission that Turkey cannot build the drone it's been boasting of for years, even though many millions has been thrown at it. All but 2 test flights have ended in disaster. How does he then think Turkey is capable of making Chinese missile systems interoperable with NATO systems...a process far more technical and complicated? What technology experience does Turkey have that comes even close? They might as well buy a box of fireworks and some matches.

Baris

12/12/2013 6:29:23 PM

Aryeh Rapaport: "NATO should Kick out Turkey and take back its weapons & capabilities"; an unrealistic argument Aryeh keeps repeating. Turkey being so close to the unstable ME; being in control of the Bosphorus which the Russian Black Sea Fleet must use; being a Muslim country which counter-balances the argument of NATO being a Christian force; and having a large army, make Turkey an invaluable member. Kicking Turkey out will weaken NATO against Russia, and weaken its influence in the ME.

Turk Uzan

12/12/2013 6:18:29 PM

WAIT .. what happened to "Chinese systems are inoperable with the NATO system"? And the people who said I was wrong in saying that it was ? Same people have found new excuses I see? Turkey should go ahead and get the Chinese system, unless our "allies" start giving us a decent deal. @ Ken Alden, Pawel is one of the HDN regulars who despises Turkey and anything Turkish. Yes is obsessed enough with Turkey to constantly comment here in the comment section (like many others)

Turk Uzan

12/12/2013 6:11:20 PM

@ Aryeh, What a joke you are .. NATO kick out one of the first nations to join the alliance? The second largest army in the Alliance? HAHA .. yeah sure .. you'd wish. Israel is not a member of NATO, your comment is ridiculous at best. Turkey is vital in securing NATO interests in the Middle east and adds a huge force to NATO's army, an extremely important strategic position etc.. @ Pawel Bury, asking allies for help is begging now? Was US/NATO begging for our help in Korea etc?
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