Turkey is reconsidering its missile defence tender due to disagreements with China about the execution of the contract

France may replace China in Turkish missile deal

Turkey is in talks with France on the purchase of a long-range missile defence system after disputes with China who originally won the tender.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the development, which would, no doubt, be welcomed by the US and NATO officials who had previously expressed their concerns that Chinese technology could raise compatibility and security issues across the bloc of which Turkey is a member.

Moreover, the winner of the tender, China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC) is under US sanctions for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-proliferation Act, raising further objections from Turkey's western allies about the country's original decision.

"Some disagreements have emerged with China on the issues of joint production and know-how during negotiations over the missile defence system," Erdogan told reporters as he returned from the NATO summit in Wales.

"Talks are continuing despite that but France, which is second on the list, has come up with new offers. Right now our talks with France are continuing. For us, joint production is very, very important," he said.

Franco-Italian Eurosam, which is owned by Franco-Italian missile maker MBDA and France's Thales, came second in a tender last September, losing out to CPMIEC's $3.4bn (£2.1bn) offer.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who told a defence industry forum last week that Russia and China were working hard to close a weapons technology gap with the United States, was in Ankara on Monday.

Last month, Turkey invited firms in the tender, including Eurosam and US-listed Raytheon, the maker of Patriot missiles which came in third, to extend the validity of their bids, indicating Ankara was still considering alternative offers but stopped short of discussing problems with the Chinese deal.

In May, Turkish officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity that China had not met the tender's conditions.

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