Tur­key, France and Italy to strengthen co­op­er­a­tion on mis­sile de­fence

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

TUR­KEY signed a let­ter of in­tent with France and Italy on Wed­nes­day to strengthen co­op­er­a­tion on joint de­fence projects in­clud­ing air and mis­sile de­fence sys­tems, Turk­ish de­fence min­istry sources said.

As a first step, the Franco-ital­ian EUROSAM con­sor­tium and Turk­ish com­pa­nies will look into a sys­tem based on the SAMP-T mis­sile sys­tem pro­duced by EUROSAM and de­ter­mine the com­mon needs of the three coun­tries, the sources said.

NATO mem­ber Tur­key says it plans to buy Rus­sian S-400 sur­face-to-air mis­siles, a de­ci­sion which has been seen in some Western cap­i­tals as a snub to the al­liance, given ten­sions with Moscow over Ukraine and Syria.

The Rus­sian deal also raises con­cern be­cause the weapons can­not be in­te­grated into NATO de­fence.

“That deal has not been con­sum­mated. There are no S-400s in Tur­key as we speak,” US Air Force Gen­eral Tod Walters, head of NATO Al­lied Air Com­mand, told Reuters in Ber­lin.

He said he would con­tinue to press Turk­ish air force of­fi­cials to buy weapons that could work to­gether with NATO sys­tems, which the S-400 could not.

“We ob­vi­ously have sys­tems in the re­gion now that pos­sess that ca­pa­bil­ity and demon­strate a high, high de­gree of in­ter­op­er­abil­ity,” Wolters said.

Raytheon, which builds the Pa­triot mis­sile de­fence sys­tem, had also put in of­fer be­fore Tur­key chose the S-400.

Tur­key has con­tin­ued talks with the EUROSAM con­sor­tium, which came in sec­ond in the ten­der.

NATO Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg last month said Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan had told him that Ankara was dis­cussing buy­ing air de­fence sys­tems from France and Italy in ad­di­tion to the S-400s.

The de­fence min­istry sources said Tur­key, France and Italy would strengthen co­op­er­a­tion on joint pro­duc­tion of mil­i­tary elec­tronic sys­tems, soft­ware and sim­u­la­tion sys­tems and war­fare equip­ments, as well as air and mis­sile de­fence sys­tems.

The let­ter of in­tent was signed in Brus­sels, where Tur­key’s De­fence Min­is­ter Nuret­tin Canikli was at­tend­ing a meet­ing of NATO de­fence min­is­ters.

– Reuters

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