News / Europe

Turkey Under Pressure Over Likely Purchase of Chinese Missiles

FILE - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
FILE - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Dorian Jones
Ankara is facing mounting pressure from its NATO allies over its announcement that a Chinese company is favored to win a contract to co-produce a Turkish missile defense system. NATO's secretary general has now added his voice to the growing chorus of concern.  
 
On Monday, Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned Ankara that any arms procurement it makes must be compatible with its allies. That comment follows Turkey's announcement that a Chinese company is favored to win the multi-billion-dollar missile defense system contract.  Other NATO member states have voiced similar concerns.

But Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu says it’s up to Turkey decide which weapons its buys.

"It is definitely, it’s going to be national capability first and foremost, and it’s going to be a national decision. In the end, whatever our decision is to be, we will make it compatible with our own defense and NATO defense as well, so there is no problem there," said Gumrukcu.
 
Ankara insists no final decision has been made, but that it is likely to sign a deal with China’s Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation. The Chinese firm's bid was significantly cheaper than its European and U.S. competitors, and it also offered technology transfers as part of the deal. Experts say making the Chinese system compatible with NATO systems is technologically feasible.

However, Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, says NATO is unlikely to agree.

"NATO allies will not allow a Chinese system to be integrated in sensitive infrastructure. There is a number of risks attached to it. One is that the work of integration will certainly involve a number experts from China and therefore there is fear some of the sensitive information will be obtained by China. And secondly, there is also a fear of potential cyber attacks through the integration of a Chinese system in this NATO infrastructure," said Ulgen.
 
Adding to U.S. concerns, the Chinese company is on a sanctions list over its dealings with countries like North Korea and Iran.

Kadri Gursel, diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet, says Ankara was probably well aware of NATO’s concerns before it expressed interest in buying the Chinese weapons system. He says politics are behind Ankara’s inclination to award the contract to China.

"Every procurement is a political choice when it comes to arms and defense. And then this is a major political step and this move shows another step towards distancing Turkey from the Western alliance, and this is major concern for the Western alliance," said Gursel.

Observers say the Turkish government has been reaching out beyond its traditional allies in Europe and Washington. Ankara, however, argues that such moves are not incompatible with its commitment to NATO.

Still, pressure is building on the Turkish government.  Last week, President Abdullah Gul stressed that no final decision had been made on the missile defense system, and he underlined the importance of NATO membership.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Gumrukcu says his government is aware of the concerns of its NATO allies.

"We have not yet made our final decision, and then we are at this stage of making a final decision. Of course we will take into account all the necessary considerations and necessary factors," he said.
 
But with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan unhappy with NATO allies over its failure to intervene militarily in Syria, and similarly disillusioned with Brussels over stalled talks on Turkey's EU membership bid, observers say Erdogan may be less sensitive than in the past to the concerns of his military alliance partners.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More