Turkey 'open' to new bids for anti-missile system

Turkey 'open' to new bids for anti-missile system

ANKARA - Agence France-Presse
Turkey open to new bids for anti-missile system

The logo of the China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp at its headquarters in Beijing. REUTERS photo

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Oct. 26 Turkey was open to new bids in its plan to acquire its first long-range anti-missile system, should negotiations with China come to nothing.

"It is not a finalised deal yet. If the American and European companies make us better offers, we will continue to talk with them," Davutoğlu, was quoted as saying. He also stressed that co-production was an unnegotiable condition for Ankara and only the Chinese firm had complied with it. "We also have concerns. Why the [European and American firms] are avoiding co-production?" Davutoğlu asked 

Last month, in a move that irritated Turkey's allies in NATO, particularly the United States, Ankara announced it was entering talks with the China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corporation (CPMIEC) to buy a long-range anti-missile system.

The U.S. said it had "serious concerns" about the deal estimated at $4 billion. Over the past decade the U.S. has hit the Chinese company with a series of sanctions for selling arms and missile technology to Iran and Syria.

CPMIEC, which makes the HQ-9 missile system, beat out competition from a U.S. partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, Russia's Rosoboronexport, and Italian-French consortium Eurosam.

Davutoğlu said Turkey had ruled out the Russian company but not the other two. "If offers more suitable for us are formulated, our relevant authorities will evaluate them," the minister added.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Oct. 23 defended the decision to enter into talks with China. "Nobody has the right to intervene in Turkey's independent decisions," he said.