Turkey’s doors open for cooperation with all countries on air defense systems

Turkey’s doors open for cooperation with all countries on air defense systems

Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
Turkey’s doors open for cooperation with all countries on air defense systems

DHA photo

Turkey’s doors are open to any country willing to cooperate with the country technically in producing air defense systems for the use of the Turkish Armed Forces, the head of the defense industry body has said, without ruling out the direct procurement of the systems until they can develop a national model. 

“We have already made clear that we will be in cooperation with countries and companies that would lend support to us throughout this process. We have said our doors are open and that we are willing to cooperate,” Undersecretary of Defense Industries İsmail Demir told Ankara bureau chiefs in a meeting on Nov. 8. 

Turkey canceled a long-standing anti-ballistic missile system tender last year, but it said the project is still alive. “We have canceled the tender and not the project. Our efforts to develop the system with our national resources are continuing,” Demir said. 

However, Turkey is in talks with Russia over the systems as outlined during a recent visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Turkey. 

Alexander Fomin, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said on Nov. 7 that Russia planned to discuss the issue of deliveries of air defense systems to Turkey as it is on the agenda of Russian-Turkish military cooperation.

“When it comes to large air defense system, they can be referred to as anti-missile systems. If they are large air defense systems, they are also considered as missile defense protection systems. Nowadays, such systems like the Buk can hit missiles even at medium range, to say nothing about the S 300 and S 400,” Fomin said.

Demir did not want to directly comment on Fomin’s statement but stressed that Turkey was ready to speak with any country that favors engaging in technical cooperation with the Turkish government. “Our door is open and our stance is well-known,” he said. 

Asked whether Turkey would opt for the direct purchase of such systems in the event that Russia offers to sell its high-tech S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems, Demir refrained from making a direct comment on the issue, choosing instead to repeat Ankara’s principles. 

“We are ready to develop these systems with our national resources and also for cooperation,” he said, while adding that in the event this process takes longer than presumed, they would consider the direct purchase option as well. 

[HH] Turkish fleet will contain locally produced warplanes by 2030

Touching on future projects and planning for the defense industry, Demir said cybersecurity, satellite systems and space and electronic warfare were among Turkey’s projected priorities between 2020 and 2030. The main objective of the defense industry is to increase the weight of national production in the inventory of the Turkish army, the undersecretary said, stressing that the Turkish air force’s fleet would contain locally produced warplanes. “I can’t give numbers but I can say there will be fully Turkish-made warplanes in our fleets,” he said.   

“This is a difficult process and we are proceeding phase by phase. We sure have dreams but we are not dreamers,” he said, adding that Turkey was in the process of working with countries and companies that have experience in the production of warplanes. 

Demir said initial contact had been established with companies, but added: “It’s also important that not only companies but their countries should also be willing to engage in cooperation. This is about to be accomplished as well.”