Turkey Snubs NATO, Opts for Chinese Missile System
Turkey’s new defense missile system, for which Ankara is in talks on a $3.4 billion deal with a Chinese company, will not be integrated with one used by NATO, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has said.
Ankara will use the long-range system without integrating it with NATO’s system, Yilmaz said in his elaboration on the issue, which came in response to a parliamentary question filed by an opposition deputy.
Turkey originally awarded the tender to China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corporation (CPMIEC) in 2013, prompting U.S. and NATO officials to say the deal could raise questions over security.
Turkey later said it was in talks with France on the issue. However, in his written response to the question filed in late December 2014 by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İzmir deputy Aykut Ciray, Yilmaz said no new bids had been received.
“The project will be financed through foreign financing. Work on assessing the bids has been completed and no new official bid has been received,” the minister said, in his response released by Ciray’s office Feb. 19.
“The system in question will be integrated with the national system for Turkey’s defense and will be used without integrating it with NATO,” he added.
Eurosam, which is owned by Franco-Italian missile maker MBDA and France’s Thales, came second in the tender.
As early as September 2013, shortly after Yilmaz announced after a top defense industry meeting that the contract for the construction of the long-range air and anti-missile system had been awarded to CPMIEC, officials and industry sources told the Hurriyet Daily News that the Turkish government’s decision to select a Chinese contender for the construction of the country’s first long-range air defense system may force Turkey into ending up with a “standalone” system with little or no integration with NATO assets like radars.
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