Turkey extends deadline for anti-missile defense proposals till Dec 31
Sevil Erkuş ANKARATurkey has again extended the deadline for bids for a multi-billion dollar anti-missile defense system tender, despite having provisionally awarded the deal to China last year.
The new deadline for rival bidding companies to submit their proposals is Dec. 31, allowing U.S. company Raytheon Co and Lockheed Martin Corp and Italian-French team Eurosam SAMP/T to revise their offers and try to head off the Chinese company, with which Turkey is still in talks.
This is the fourth time Turkey has extended the deadline for revised offers.
The new head of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), İsmail Demir, recently held talks in with Eurosam SAMP/T officials.
The SSM also denied media reports that claimed “Turkey is on the verge of ending talks with China and about to start talks with Western bidders.”
“There are many different projects, including missile-based defense systems, carried out and planned by our undersecretariat, beside the long-range air and missile defense systems program, and there have been talks with various countries and companies regarding these projects,” the body said in the statement. “We would like to share our request for the public not to directly relate these kinds of talks with the ongoing long-range air and missile defense systems project.”
NATO and its members, particularly the U.S., have repeatedly voiced concerns over Ankara’s choice of the Chinese FD-2000 missile defense system.
The U.S. has put pressure on Turkey’s defense industry giants to dissuade Turkey from choosing a Chinese firm, over concerns about interoperability with NATO systems.
Turkey said China offered the most competitive terms and would allow co-production in Turkey.
Rival companies said they would give consent to co-production, which has been one of Turkey’s top priorities, but this would increase the price to a great extent.
Chinese manufacturer China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC) has been on the U.S. State Department’s sanctions list since February 2013 due to non-proliferation concerns. The National Defense Authorization Act that the U.S. Congress also passed a decision, with a clause barring the use of “2014 funds to integrate the missile defense systems of the People’s Republic of China into U.S. missile defense systems.”