Turkey awaits Russia's offer in missile system procurement process

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
Published 03.11.2016 00:00

Turkey's long-known desire to purchase a long-range air missile defense system has been a hot topic since 2013 and speculations that began to swirl among defense industry followers when Turkey held talks with the French-Italian consortium Eurosam regarding the SAMP/T Aster 30 missile defense system are mixed with surprise following a statement by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, which indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently discussed the possible supplying of Russian air defense systems to Ankara on Oct. 14.

Turkey is expecting an offer from Moscow regarding the purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system in what could be the culmination of Ankara's long-awaited procurement process for the purchasing of a long-range air missile defense system, a high-level source told Sabah newspaper.

The high-level source who spoke under the condition of anonymity told Sabah newspaper on Oct. 1 that Ankara is expecting an offer from the Kremlin and is currently playing the waiting game in the final stages of a lengthy procurement process towards the multi-billion dollar purchase of a missile defense system: "In October, Russia said that it could sell the S-400 missile system to Turkey and we responded by saying we would be very happy to consider the offer. However, we are still waiting to see the details of the offer," the source said.

Ankara is aware that as a NATO member the possible decision to purchase a Russian missile system is likely to raise concerns in the alliance. ''Obviously we are aware that procurement of the Russian missile system may spark tensions with NATO and there is an integration issue. However, we may decide to go along with the Russians unless our Western partners change their unwilling stance on technology transfer and co-production,'' the source said. ''A delegation from Thales was in Ankara recently and I clearly expressed that Turkey desires to work with them and suggested to revise their price and technology transfer policy,'' the source added.

Russia's offer for S-400 missile systems is expected to be received by Ankara in the coming days and apart from the price itself, the technology transfer and joint production details will be important factors in Turkey's decision to give a final decision about the procurement process.

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