Erdoğan says Turkey should develop missile system ‘by indigenous means’
AP photoTurkey should build a long-range missile attack system developed by indigenous means, instead of purchasing a missile defense system from abroad, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced.
Erdoğan, in an interview aired on private ATV and A Haber channels late on Nov. 18, recalled that Turkey canceled the existing missile project tender with a recent decision by the Defense Industry Executive Committee so the country could focus on development of long-range missile defense system developed by indigenous means.
“We have been able to produce a lot of our armaments domestically. We were even not able to dream of this 13 years ago but we went beyond this,” Erdoğan said, claiming Turkey would shortly begin “exporting” armaments instead of “importing” them.
“At the moment, we are producing missiles but the level of their range is not at the desired level. It has to be much longer. Will we have ‘long-range defense’ or ‘attack’ [capabilities]? Here is the issue. That’s what we have been negotiating at the moment; we want it to be both national and domestic and we want it to be ‘long range attack,’” he said.
“With this cancellation, we have taken this step. We sat and talked about what we should do. Why are we making this defense? We paused for two years. If we do the attack, the attack anyhow involves defense from within,” he said.
“We were then taught that ‘The best defense is a good offense,’” he added, referring to training he received during compulsory military service.
The Undersecretariat of the Defense Industry (SSM) will work on this project and the project could be carried out either by opening a tender, which could involve China and or France, or by an intergovernmental agreement, Erdoğan said.
Turkey has entirely dropped a tentative agreement to purchase a $3.4-billion long-range missile defense system from a Chinese company, ending a two-year saga over the deal, which had worried NATO allies.
The decision was made in the run-up to the G-20 Summit in Antalya, where Erdoğan hosted world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama.