Turkey won’t proceed with a long-delayed plan to buy a missile defense system from China.
Instead, it will develop its own, Bloomberg reports, citing official sources.
Ankara picked China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. which offered the best bid of US$3.4 billion in 2013.
But Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has now cancelled the project, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is not public.
Plans to purchase and co-produce the system were mooted about a decade ago and deadlines for companies to offer revised bids have been repeatedly extended as Turkey’s decision drew criticism that the Chinese system would be incompatible with NATO.
Turkey remained in talks with US firms Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co. and French-Italian partnership Eurosam GIE for the project, Ismail Demir, head of defense industry under-secretariat said in October, adding that all options were still on the table.
“Bottom line: Turkey needs a NATO inter-operable system, and China does not have it,” Aaron Stein, a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, said by e-mail.
“The idea was always that Ankara would eventually develop a local system using the technical know-how gleaned from the long-range missile defense system project.”
The Chinese company had proposed the FD-2000 system, its equivalent of the US Patriot technology, Merve Seren, an analyst with Ankara think-tank Seta, wrote in a report last month.
China made the best offer and also agreed to manufacture parts of the system in Turkey while falling short of Turkey’s demand for 50 percent local production. The Chinese offer would also create a US$1.1 billion business for Turkey’s state-owned defense companies Roketsan, Aselsan and Ayesas.
In response to criticism, Turkey said in the past that it wouldn’t seek to integrate the Chinese system with NATO.
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