World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's top priority when procuring its first long-range missile defence system is to bolster its own technological ability, a defence official said on Friday.
Turkey has chosen a Chinese company as the preferred bidder for the $3.4 billion project but is also pressing ahead with talks with U.S. and European firms as questions remain about the Chinese proposal, particularly over the technology transfer to boost the local defence industry.
"We would like this system to equip us with a certain capability. We would want the system we have to be the most advanced in 10-15 years time," Undersecretary for Defence Industries Ismail Demir said at a meeting in Istanbul.
NATO member Turkey chose China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp in 2013 as the preferred bidder, prompting U.S. and Western concern about security and the compatibility of the weaponry with NATO systems.
Turkey's defence minister said last week it did not plan to integrate the system with NATO infrastructure, only for the presidential spokesman to say some days later that the systems would be integrated.