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Eyes on Ankara
Turkey Weighs NATO, Chinese Missile Offers Again

Turkey continues to play the U.S. and China against one another in the defense game. Defense News:

For a fourth time since September, Turkey’s procurement authorities extended a deadline for all three bidders in a disputed air defense contract to submit their renewed proposals, a move officials and analysts link to presidential elections.

US and European bidders have been trying to snatch the contract from their Chinese rival which Turkey selected last September in its first program to build a long-range air and anti-missile defense system.

“The final decision may have to wait until the presidential elections and the formation of a new government this fall,” another official familiar with the program said.

On the one hand, this is just smart shopping, and Turkey has been at it for almost a year now. Reports indicate it’s encouraging the Americans and Europeans to sweeten their proposals as it hems and haws. On the other hand, whom you buy arms from matters, both symbolically and practically. The prospect of having a NATO member dependent on the Chinese for such a key element of defense rightly makes some of Turkey’s allies nervous for reasons that have nothing to do with the bottom lines of western arms companies.

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  • Xiangyang

    there is another perspective or way of seeing it. Instead of “Turkey continues to play the U.S and China against one Another”, it is actually “Turkey is caught between a rock and a hard Place, and is desperately trying to find a way out”.
    On the one hand, NATO and U.S. will not allow a deal with China, one the other hand, if Turkey buys missile from the west with double the price (including the Tech transfer if it can get it), the Turkish government has to explain to the population: 1. why they have to pay such ransom price? 2. Turkish pride is at stake, the country is bent under the open threat and pressure of it’s own “friend”. Either way Turkish government is the losser, the difference is just how.
    The out-come is that: NATO gain nothing in terms of the deal, it is no surprise if they get it, but may push the Turkish populatoin eastward further. The Turkish government will loose, either its own reputation or its NATO ally. The Chinese seems get a free advertisement for their missile, after all the Chinese deal not only is highest value for Money, but actually best in the shooting range according to the Turkish.

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