Turkey has cancelled a tentative agreement with China to buy a $3.4 billion long-range missile defense system and will instead build its system with help from its NATO partners.
"The deal was cancelled and one of the main reasons is that we will launch our own national missile project," an official from Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office was quoted as saying in several Turkish media outlets.
A formal announcement on the cancelation is expected later this week. There is no word from China on the deal going sour.
Local defense companies such as military electronics specialist Aselsan and missile manufacturer Roketsan may be commissioned to fulfill such a mission as Turkey aims to produce the system domestically with “national resources” in combination with technological support from a globally tested system.
According to the reports, the decision was taken in the run-up to the G-20 Summit in Antalya when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama, CNN Türk reported Nov. 15.
The deal was reportedly cancelled as it had concerned Turkey's NATO allies.
Some other reports said the deal with China's China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp. (CPMIEC) was canceled as talks were not making progress over technology transfer.
Turkey selected CPMIEC as a preferred bidder for the $3.4 billion deal in September 2013 to build the missile defense system but the move created concern for Western nations about security and the compatibility of the weaponry with NATO infrastructure.
NATO countries, especially the US objected to the idea and said that the systems would not be integrated with the alliance’s defense structure. In the initial bid, Eurosam came second while a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin came third.
The move could force Turkey into ending up with a “standalone” system with little or no integration with NATO assets like radars, the defense officials of Turkey had said earlier. About half of Turkey’s network-based air defense radars have been paid for by NATO and are part of the NATO Air Defense Ground Environment.
“Turkey can always decide to build a standalone system. But in that case, abstracting the air defense system from NATO assets would mean that Turkey will lose half of its radar capabilities,” one defense analyst said at the time.
Turkey would need interface data to make its own air defense architecture interoperable with NATO assets, primarily data on the Identify Friend and Foe system. This is a top-secret system and cannot be installed into any Chinese system.