No hidden message in missile deal: Turkish academic

Turkey's decision last month to award a missile defence system contract to a Chinese company under sanctions by US should not be interpreted as politically motivated.

No hidden message in missile deal: Turkish academic

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkey’s decision to co-produce a long range missile system with a Chinese firm, blacklisted by the US government for selling weapons to north Korea, Iran and Syria, is not about political re-alignment, a Turkish academic says.

Professor Yasin Aktay, director of Ankara-based think tank Institute of StrategicThinking, says, "China is not an enemy of NATO". He added that NATO membership does not preclude one member country making security deals with any other country.

Amid escalating objections from NATO and US officials, who state that the Chinese weapons system will be incompatable with NATO systems, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz commented in a Turkish newspaper that, Ankara chose the Chinese firm China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC) because it offered the lowest price and agreed to a technology transfer. Also, Turkish officials insist that the missile system will be integrated with NATO capabilities.

There has been a long history between Turkey and NATO, stemming from the Cold War years, says Aktay, also an adviser to the ruling AK Party’s central body; “Turkey acted as a barrier to Communist’s expansionist policies,” he notes. After the end of Cold War, Turkey is still an active member of the Alliance and is trying to be active in the decision-making process as well.

Turkey’s decision to jointly produce long range missile defense system does not contain any hidden message, Aktay stressed. He gave an example of a hungry man who wants to eat. “Turkey is trying to meet its need. Turkey has a poor defense system and trying to reinforce its system. Turkey is not seeking a political alliance,” he said. In meeting that necessity, Turkey has to select the most reasonable option, he added.

Those countries not happy with Turkey's decision had the chance to submit their own proposals, “If they are discontent with Turkey’s decision, they can fulfill the conditions instead of China,” he commented.

He complained that security deals with other NATO member countries are not in Turkey’s interest since it creates a vicious cycle in that a country becomes dependent on a software supplier for its spare parts. “However Turkey is interested to save itself from that cycle. In that effort, Turkey has to increase its options,” he noted.

In recent years, Turkey has demanded some form of transfer technology in sensitive deals involving security or nuclear plants.

For example, a Russian construction company was awarded the contract to build a nuclear plant in Mersin but in return Turkey demanded some engineering, maths and physics students to be given expertise in nuclear technology from Russia by giving them the opportunity to study in the country.

Last Mod: 23 Ekim 2013, 13:13
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