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Will Turkey stick with Chinese missile defense deal?

Turkey’s final choice for its anti-missile system will offer important clues whether the country will turn to the West or the East.

After Turkey decided in 2006 to procure a long-range air and anti-missile defense system known as T-Loramids, a long and a hot contest pitched the US PAC-3 Patriot, Russian S-400, French/Italian SAMP/T and Chinese HQ-9 models. Raytheon-Lockheed Martin of the US and European Eurosam companies made particular efforts to win Ankara’s favor. While everyone was expecting one of these two companies to win the contract, in September 2013 a bombshell hit the agenda when Turkey decided on China’s state-owned Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp (CPMIEC), which was on the US sanctions list on charges of violating the embargo on Iran. The contract was awarded for the FD-2000 model, the export derivative of HQ-9 system manufactured by the company.

As not much attention is paid to transparency and accountability in Turkey’s weapons procurements, the public did not fully learn the reasons for the decision to go with the Chinese bid.

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