Turkey wants its own air defence systems, kills Chinese deal

Turkey decides on launching its own missile defence systems and cancels tender with China which started almost three years ago

Photo by: Chinese Military
Photo by: Chinese Military

Chinese FD-2000 air defense missile system

Turkey has canceled a $3.4 billion-worth long range defence missile system due to desire to launch its own project to built such a system, according to a Turkish Prime Ministry official.

In 2013, Turkey, a member of North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) since 1952, had accepted a tender from China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp for buying missile defence system and the technology transfer which would give Turkey the ability to use the systems.

"It has been decided that this tender will be canceled," said the official on Sunday.

"This decision has been signed by the Prime Minister this week," he said.

"Turkey will now launch its own project to build such a defense system.”

The tender between Turkey and China on the defence system technology had drawn criticism from the Western powers and other NATO member states, saying it could threaten the security of the member countries.

China wasn’t the only country on the missile system tender. The United States, Russia, France-Italy corporation were also on the negotiation table. But, China was the only country which would share the technology with Turkey.

Turkish officials had criticised the Western bidders for not giving the knowledge of the missile defence technology, but rather wanted Turkey remain as a constant buyer.

Turkey is a neighboring country with the war-torn Syria and Iraq which are threatened by DAESH terrorist organisation. Turkish officials have long warned of missile attack threats from Syria and underlined the necessity of missile defence systems.

Turkey appealed to its NATO allies to support country’s missile defence system that purpose to intercept Syrian rockets, after the United States and Germany had withdrawn defence system from the country in the mid-August.

And NATO announced that it is waiting for its allies to fill the gap left by Germany and the US.

The lack of replacement of both countries has been questioned in the NATO's strategy along the frontier, especially after Russian jets violated Turkey's air space on late September.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that he was prepared to send forces to defend Turkey.

“NATO has already responded by increasing our capacity, our ability, our preparedness to deploy forces, including to the South, including in Turkey, if needed,” he said.

Meanwhile, after withdrawal of the US and German Patriot missiles Spain was the only ally left in Turkey with its Patriots. Spain underlined that it will not act alone in Turkey.

"What we are not going to do is be the only battery, as that would stop being effective. Everyone understands that," said Spanish Defence Minister Pedro Morenes.

TRTWorld and agencies