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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Turkey: Made in China? US warns Turkey its missile deal with Beijing may be incompatible with NATO

Washington is talking to Ankara over a $3.4 billion Turkish-Chinese deal, in which the two countries agreed to co-produce a long-range air and missile defense system. The US claims the outcome may not be compatible with the existing NATO defense network.

In a surprise move for its NATO allies, Turkey announced in September it was going to award a new missile defense contract to China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC).

The Chinese defense firm, which has been sanctioned by the US for alleged violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-proliferation Act, has been chosen to co-produce the FD-2000 system with Turkish specialists. CPMIEC claims the system not only beats in price, but also comes up to the quality of its rivals – the Russian S-300, the French-Italian Eurosam SAMP/T, and the American Patriots.

Now the US has started “expert discussions” with Turkey regarding the defense tender, according to US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone quoted by Reuters.

“We are very concerned about the prospective deal with the sanctioned Chinese firm. Yes this is a commercial decision, it is Turkey’s sovereign right, but we are concerned about what it means for allied air defense,” Ricciardone told reporters on Thursday.