Turkey says missile system deal process not finalized

Turkey says missile system deal process not finalized

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey says missile system deal process not finalized

DHA Photo

Turkey has reiterated that the selection process for a contract to acquire its first long-range anti-missile system was still ongoing. Ankara has agreed on a Chinese company, despite unease from NATO and the U.S.

“The process has not yet been finalized,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gümrükçü said yesterday at a press briefing.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed that Turkey had been in talks with NATO over the past few days, adding that the exchange of views with NATO allies was “only natural.”

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz also said no deal had yet been finalized. “The Chinese gave us the best price,” Yilmaz told daily Vatan on Oct. 1, explaining that the system’s Chinese manufacturer had agreed to a co-production deal with Turkey.

“We asked for joint production and a technology transfer,” Yılmaz said. “If other countries cannot guarantee us that, then we will turn to the ones that can.”

Turkey, a member of the NATO military alliance, announced on Sept. 26 that it had chosen the FD-2000 missile defense system from China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp, or CPMIEC, over the U.S. partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, Russia’s Rosoboronexport, and the Italian-French consortium Eurosamrs in the tender.

CPMIEC is under U.S. sanctions for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.

“We have conveyed our serious concerns about the Turkish government’s contract discussions with a U.S.-sanctioned company for a missile defense system that will not be inter-operable with NATO systems or collective defense capabilities,” a State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said on Sept. 28. “Our discussions on this issue will continue,” she said.

Turkey’s deal with China over the construction of a long-range air and anti-missile system is not the final decision, President Abdullah Gül said on Sept. 29.

That purchase is not definite. There is a shortlist, and China is at the top of it. We should look at the conditions, but there is no doubt that Turkey is primarily in NATO. These are multi-dimensional issues, there are technical and economic dimensions and on the other hand there is an alliance dimension. These are being evaluated. Turkey needs a defense system,” Gül said.

The initial estimated contract price was $4 billion, but the Chinese offer stood at anywhere between $3 billion to $3.5 billion, although officials did not confirm any figure.

Turkey presently has no long-range air-defense systems. The $4 billion program, dubbed the T-LORAMIDS, is being designed to counter both enemy aircraft and missiles.