Turkey still discussing missile defense purchases from U.S., Eurosam

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey continues to hold talks with the Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium and the United States to buy missile defense systems, Ankara’s foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday.

In December last year, Turkey and Russia signed an accord for Moscow to supply Ankara with S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries, finalizing a deal set to deepen military ties between NATO member Turkey and the Kremlin.

“The system we are buying from Russia cannot be integrated into NATO systems, but we are maintaining our target to develop a system that is compatible with NATO,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy told reporters on Friday.

In January, Turkey awarded Eurosam an 18-month contract for a study into the development and production of a long-range air and missile defense system, in a move towards closer defense cooperation with France and Italy.

“Our cooperation with Eurosam is in line with this target. On the other hand, we continue our talks for Patriot systems with the U.S.,” Aksoy said.

Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Tuvan Gumrukcu