Turkey’s defense minister has announced that the Turkish military will go ahead with the $3.5 billion purchase of an air defense system from China—one that is fundamentally incompatible with the NATO air defense network. Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said that the system, which will be purchased with “foreign financing,” will be “integrated with the national system for Turkey’s defense and will be used without integrating with NATO.”
Yilmaz’s statement was in response to a question submitted by the Turkish parliament. But the purchase decision, which was initially announced in September of 2013, may not yet be final. In a statement sent to Reuters, a spokesperson for Turkey’s undersecretariat for defense industries said that negotiations were still underway, and “we are continuing discussions with all the bidders.”
The system in question, called T-LORAMIDS (Turkey Long Rage Air and Missile Defense System), would be built jointly by China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC) and Turkish defense companies, based on China’s HQ-9 “Red Banner” long-range ground-to-air missile. CPMIEC won over bids from the French/Italian Eurosam consortium and Raytheon’s Patriot missile system. Part of the reason for the selection was that Turkey’s own defense companies would be involved in manufacturing the missiles.
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