Turkey gives more time for missile deal offers

Turkey gives more time for missile deal offers

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey gives more time for missile deal offers

A US Patriot missile system is seen at a Turkish military base in this file photo. A consortium of American armsmakers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin is among bidders for Turkey’s missile tender. DHA photo

Turkey has again extended the deadline for bidding companies to send revised offers for its anti-ballistic missile air defense system.

The new deadline for rival bidding companies to submit their proposals is April 30, 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 a Chinese company, with which Turkey is still in talks.

Turkey announced its decision to negotiate with China’s Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp. (CPMIEC) to co-produce anti-ballistic missile system last September. It then extended the deadline to Jan. 31, after firm statements from NATO and U.S. officials that the Chinese MD-2000’s would not be interoperable with the NATO defense architecture. Turkish leaders said the deal had yet to be finalized, and that Ankara remained open to new offers from the other two bidders.

In the meantime, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who accompanied French President François Hollande during his visit to Turkey on Jan. 27, met with Murad Bayar, Turkey’s head of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), for discussions on the missile deal.

Officials from Eurosam and Raytheon are in contact with the SSM from time to time, but offers from any bidders will only be examined if contract negotiations with the Chinese company fail before April 30, a Turkish official familiar with the process told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The issue is expected to be on the agenda of talks during President Abdullah Gül’s visit to Italy, the official also said.

Chinese manufacturer 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 last month, 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.”