Erdogan tells MPs Turkey will only make emergency purchases of foreign defence systems

Erdogan tells MPs Turkey will only make emergency purchases of foreign defence systems
A Turkish soldier stands watch while US Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meets with Turkish Gen. Hulusi Akar, Chief of the Turkish General Staff, in February 2017.
By bne IntelliNews February 7, 2018

Turkey will only buy foreign defence systems, software or products in an emergency, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling AK Party in parliament on February 6.

Pledging to develop domestic military designs and systems to achieve independence in military equipment production that Turkey plans to secure within a few years, Erdogan said Turkey was only ready to cooperate with foreign defence companies abroad that accepted Ankara’s conditions. Turkey, he added, did not want to buy ready-made systems.

This latter point has been evident in negotiations for Nato member Turkey’s planned acquisition of advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. The Turkish side has been pushing for joint production of any S-400 units to be acquired by Ankara, in a deal expected to cost around $2bn.

Last December, Russia was reportedly offering Turkey—which has the largest armed forces of any Nato member except the US—partial financing for its S-400 acquisition.

“Technical questions are under discussion, the interest rate. Everything is at the finance ministry,” Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin told Interfax.

Turkey has been in talks with Russia to purchase the anti-aircraft system for more than a year. That has unsettled NATO allies who see the move as somewhat provocative—particularly given the backdrop that has seen Ankara grow geopolitically closer to Moscow and less aligned with Washington and the EU because of a series of rows tied to Turkey’s governance and demands under its continuing state of emergency, as well as over US backing for Kurdish militias in  Syria—because the system cannot be integrated into the military alliance’s defences.

Turkey is developing domestic projects that are to produce combat helicopters, drones, tanks and other defence items.

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