Turkey 'open' to updated offers for anti-missile project

Turkey 'open' to updated offers for anti-missile project

Turkey open to updated offers for anti-missile project

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz tells reporters that the country is 'open to new offers' from other companies for discussions on a long-range missile defense system. AA photo

Defense officials have said the country is open to new offers from other companies for contract discussions on a long-range missile defense system, even though Ankara controversially selected a Chinese firm for the project on Sept. 26.

“The process has just started. If the second and third [companies in the list] send their [new] offers to us, that will be useful through the discussion phases with the current one. Everybody is free to send a last offer,” Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz told reporters yesterday.

There was no problem with the current talks, the minister said, when asked about the discussions with the Chinese company with whom Turkey agreed to jointly produce the systems.

China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp (CPMIEC) beat competition from a U.S. partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and a European Italian-French consortium in the tender, but NATO officials have expressed concern that Turkey’s selection of the company could mean sensitive data will be shared with a non-alliance member.

Yılmaz also confirmed that the amendment in legislation paved the way for a top commander to appoint a political consultant for himself who will be in charge only during the commander’s term.

“The chief of General Staff would be able to appoint any adviser regarding any issue, whether NATO, politicians or technical issues,” he said, adding that the top commander of the military would also be able to assign a civil media consultant.

Yılmaz dismissed concerns that a civil adviser could politicize the Turkish Armed Forces.