ANKARA, April 30 Turkey has extended the
validity of bids in a multi-billion dollar missile defence
system tender despite having provisionally awarded the deal to
China, a senior Turkish defence official said on Wednesday.
Turkey's NATO allies voiced concern when it said in
September it had chosen China's FD-2000 missile defence system
over rival offers from Franco-Italian Eurosam and U.S.-listed
Raytheon Co. It said China offered the most competitive
terms and would allow co-production in Turkey.
The official said the bids from Eurosam and Raytheon, which
had been due to expire on Wednesday, would be extended for a
further two months.
"Their bids will be valid until June 30," the official said,
declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The deal would mark a breakthrough for China in its bid to
become a supplier of advanced weapons. But Turkish officials
have said for months that it was not a foregone conclusion that
Ankara would end up signing the $3.4 billion deal with China
Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC).
U.S. and NATO officials are unhappy with Turkey's choice of
CPMIEC, which is under U.S. sanctions for selling items to Iran,
Syria or North Korea that are banned under U.S. laws to curb the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Turkey said in November it aimed to make a definitive
decision on the air and missile defence system deal in around
(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Nick Tattersall)