Turkey’s missile deal should not be politicized, says China

Turkey’s missile deal should not be politicized, says China

Turkey’s missile deal should not be politicized, says China

The logo of China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC) is seen at its headquarters in Beijing in this Sep 27 file photo. REUTERS photo

Turkey’s decision to choose a Chinese company to construct a missile defense system should not be politicized, according to the country’s Foreign Ministry.

The deal, which was announced Sept. 26, constitutes “normal arms trade cooperation,” The Associated Press quoted ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as saying Oct. 25

She said it should be viewed objectively, and that such a normal commercial competition should not be politicized. Hua’s comments come one day after the U.S. ambassador to Turkey told reporters that the U.S. had concerns about the Chinese system’s compatibility with NATO’s missile and air defense systems.

Turkey announced in September it had chosen the FD-2000 missile defense system of the China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC) over rival systems from Franco/Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and U.S. firm Raytheon Co, though officials have since said the decision is not yet final. 

Turkey open to new offers

Both Turkey and China have said Ankara’s decision was made on purely commercial grounds. Turkey has said. 

CPMIEC offered the most competitive terms and would enable production to be partly based in Turkey, helping it achieve its long-standing goal of strengthening its domestic defense industry. 

Turkey would be open to new offers for the missile defense system if the deal with CPMIEC, which is under U.S. sanctions, falls through, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was quoted as saying today, Reuters has reported. “Currently, I don’t know if there are different proposals from the other parties. If there are they could be considered,” daily Bugün quoted Erdoğan as telling a reporter on his plane early on Oct. 24. “Only if China pulls out of the negotiations will the possibility of talks with the other sides emerge.”

Turkey’s decision to co-produce the long-range air and missile defense system with CPMIEC over the rival bids raised concern among Turkey’s Western allies. CPMIEC is under U.S. sanctions for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act. 

Raytheon said Oct. 24 that it was still ready to sell its Patriot missile defense system to Turkey if Ankara changed its mind.