Top defense body to meet early next year
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
A German soldier elaborates on the properties of Patriot missiles sent to Turkey. AA photoThe year-end meeting of Turkey’s top defense procurement body has been tentatively scheduled for Jan. 3, 2013 and will include the participation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a senior procurement official said Dec. 24.
The Defense Industry Executive Committee is expected to meet with Erdoğan, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, Chief of the Turkish General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel and Procurement Chief Murad Bayar.
The meeting will take place as planned if no additional items appear on the schedules of any of the key participants. Otherwise, it will be scheduled for a later date.
Missile defense system
The meeting’s agenda will include the selection of Turkey’s long-range missile and air defense systems, or T-Loramids, officials said.
For the Turkish contract, the pan-European Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30, is up against a U.S. partnership between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, maker of the Patriot-based air defense systems; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S300; and China’s China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp. (CPMIEC), offering its HQ-9.
Yet after a NATO decision to deploy six Patriot missile batteries in southeast Turkey in an effort to deter aggression from Syria, the urgency of the deal is under question. Germany, the Netherlands and the U.S. are supplying Turkey with the six Patriot batteries, two from each country.
The selection of any of the aforementioned systems will cost the country at least $4 billion. “At a time when NATO is rushing to the defense of Turkey, this price tag is too high,” said one Turkish defense analyst.
Many Western officials and experts say that the Russian and Chinese systems in the Turkish contract bid are not compatible with NATO systems. Their potential selection might inadvertently provide them with access to classified NATO information, and as a result may compromise NATO’s procedures. Despite this criticism, Turkey has so far ruled against expelling the Chinese and Russian options, saying there is no need to exclude them from the contract bid.
Another item on the meeting’s agenda is the selection of a private shipyard to produce the remaining six corvettes in a $2.5 billion deal to manufacture eight Milgem corvettes for the Navy. The candidates are RMK Marine and Dearsan.
Among the corvettes, the TCG Heybeliada has already been made at a military shipyard, and the TCG Buyukada has been put to sea. Corvettes are the smallest warships in the inventory of the Turkish Navy, as the country has no ocean coasts.