Turkey is likely to cancel the missile defense systems with China and call for new bidders early next year, AFP reported today.
Turkey was in negotiations with China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corporation (CPMIEC) to acquire its first long range anti-missile systems last September. However, the deal came under fire with US and NATO allies expressing concerns citing previously imposed sanctions on the Chinese company for supplying arms to Iran and Syria in defiance of a ban.
“Several options are on the table, including a cancellation of the tender” that was won by the Chinese company, AFP quoted unnamed sources familiar with the issue as saying.
CPMIEC was chosen over US firms Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, as well as Russian Rosoboronexport and the French-Italian Eurosam. The contract is valued at €2.9 billion ($3.6 billion).
Apart from the strategic concerns, there were constraints in terms of transfer of technology and issues of joint production with CPMIEC. Turkey’s allies in NATO also expressed issues about the compatibility of the Chinese systems with their own missile defense systems.
Turkey was supposed to have announced its final decision in summer but then invited the Chinese company’s rivals to present revised offers.
“We have received information that Turkey is preparing ultimately to launch a new tender to negotiate as a priority with European and American firms,” a European source in Ankara was quoted as saying by AFP.
Turkey had previously defended its decision to enter into talks with the Chinese company but said it is open to new bids should the negotiations fall through.