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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid