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.