US, EU firms press Turkish companies over Chinese missile deal
Cengizhan Çatal ANKARA / Hürriyet
Turkish firms have been pressured by their European and US counterparts over Turkey’s choice of a Chinese company to build a major defense system. AA photo
European and U.S. defense companies, which were not chosen for Turkey’s first long-range air and anti-missile system, have been reportedly pressuring Turkey’s defense industry giants to dissuade Turkey from choosing a Chinese firm.
The U.S. partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam have been holding talks with C-level executives of local defense companies, like military electronics specialist Aselsan, defense software specialist Havelsan, missile manufacturer Roketsan and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), according to information obtained from sources close to the matter.
According to sources, European and American companies, which have billion-dollar joint projects with the Turkish companies at issue, gave an ultimatum to Turkish companies, saying “If Turkey buys missiles from China, our partnerships in certain fields will be over.”
Foreign companies reportedly also said they would give consent to co-production, which has been one of Turkey’s top priorities, but not at the extent that China agreed.
Turkey’s defense procurement bureaucracy has been reassessing commercial and political aspects of negotiations with the Chinese winner of the bid, CPMIEC, after snags emerged during contract negotiations with the firm, including projected cost overruns of hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the necessity of integrating the system into the Turkish air defense system.
NATO has strictly objected to the integration of the systems, saying it would not be possible to integrate the Chinese-built system with NATO and the U.S. systems due to cyber security threats. The company is also on a U.S. sanction list for violating the Syria, North Korea and Iran on proliferation acts.