The Turkish Government is reportedly negotiating the purchase of a long-range missile defence system from the French-Italian company Eurosam, following disagreements with China.
Turkey had selected China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp’s (CPMIEC) FD-2000 missile system for the long-range air and missile defence systems (LORAMIDS) contract in September 2013, rejecting proposals from Rosoboronexport, Raytheon and Eurosam.
Raytheon had offered its Patriot surface-to-air missile, while Rosoboronexport and Eurosam proposed their S-400 and Aster 30 sol-air moyenne portée terrestre (SAMP/T) missile systems, respectively.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed to NTV: "Some disagreements have emerged with China on the issues of joint production and know-how during negotiations over the missile defence system.
"Talks are continuing despite that, but France, which is second on the list, has come up with a new offer.
"Right now we are holding ongoing talks with France. For us, joint production is very, very important."
Meanwhile, a senior official from the Turkish Prime Minister’s Office was quoted by DefenseNews as saying that the technical negotiations with CPMIEC have been dragged into several problematic areas.
"This option now looks much less attractive than it did last year," the source said.
Under the terms of the $3.4bn contract, CPMIEC had offered to collaborate with Turkish prime and subcontractors to coproduce the system that comprises radar, launcher and intercept missiles and is expected to enable Turkey to counter both enemy aircraft and missiles.
However, Turkey later asked the competitors to ‘reconsider’ their bids in wake of strong pressure from the international community, including Nato and the US.
CPMIEC is under the US sanctions for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-Proliferation Act since February 2013.
Earlier this year, Turkey’s Western allies have warned that the country’s entire defence cooperation with Western counterparts, including defence and non-defence companies, could be jeopardised, if it finalises the deal with the Chinese company, according to the news agency.