MUNICH Feb 2 Turkey's Foreign Minister said on
Sunday Ankara had not yet decided which missile defence system
it would buy and it was open to bids from other companies
besides the current Chinese favourite if these guaranteed joint
NATO member Turkey's decision last September to choose a
$3.4 billion offer from the China Precision Machinery Import and
Export Corp (CPMIEC) irked Ankara's Western allies as the
Chinese company is under U.S. sanctions for violations of the
Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.
U.S. and NATO officials also voiced concerns that a Chinese
product would not be compatible with other NATO systems.
"Turkey did not decide yet which system should be bought..
for us three criteria are important - joint production, the time
of delivery and price," Ahmet Davutoglu told a panel at the
Munich Security Conference.
The deal would mark a breakthrough for China in its bid to
become a supplier of advanced weapons. But Davutoglu said Turkey
was still negotiating and he had held a meeting with a U.S.
company a day earlier.
"The Chinese company was the first because they offered us
joint production. Joint production was important for us," he
Rival offers from Franco-Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and
U.S.-listed Raytheon Co RTN.N, the maker of Patriot missiles,
were also in the running he said.
"If the other two companies give us the assurance of joint
production in Turkey and the transfer of technology, of course
we wish to have this with NATO allies."
NATO's top military commander urged Turkey last November to
buy a missile defence system that is compatible with other NATO
"Everyone knows how difficult it is if you want to buy
something from the United States, there is a long process of
getting permission. If those companies are offering us joint
production it is negotiable," Davutoglu added.