Turkey to buy long-range missiles from suppliers willing to transfer technology

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal

Turkey's top defense procurement official, İsmail Demir, head of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) said Turkey is still working on a project to produce domestic long-range missile systems. He added that until then, systems might be purchased from a country that will collaborate on Turkey's projects.

On Monday Alexandr Fomin, the director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said Russia and Turkey are planning to convene an intergovernmental military-technical cooperation commission before the end of the year, and the deployment of an air defense system to Turkey will be the most important topic of the meeting. Talking to journalists on Tuesday in Ankara, answering the question of whether Turkey will purchase Russian missile systems, Demir said Turkey continues its work to produce a homegrown system. "Actually our road map is very clear. When we canceled the tender last year, we announced that the project [T-LORAMIDS] was continuing. Thus we are still working to produce the long-range missile system locally," Demir said. "The air missile defense systems are multi-layer systems and we have ongoing projects such as Hisar, that is one part or layer of the complete system," he added.

Underlining that the door is still open for countries that are willing to cooperate with Turkey, including in the areas of technology transfer and co-production, Demir also hinted that Turkey could purchase ready-made systems from a country that will collaborate in developing a local system. "We have already started to develop our local air defense system, but it may take five to seven years to conclude this project. Thus we could purchase ready systems from a country that cooperates with us while the development stage of our domestic system continues," Demir added. Asked whether they will take into account NATO's pressure and compatibility issues if they decide to purchase Russian systems, Demir said they have been dealing with these kinds of problems and questions since Turkey selected, over European and U.S. rivals, a Chinese contender for the construction of its first long-range air and anti-missile defense system in 2013.

İsmail Demir also said they are currently working on several projects for the elimination of handmade explosives which are mainly used by PKK terrorists; however, none of these projects have been concluded.

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