Turkey yet to receive new bids for new missile system
ANKARA - Turkey has yet to receive any new bids to supply a new missile system to rival a controversial multi-billion dollar offer by a US-blacklisted Chinese company, a government official said Friday.
"We have asked other companies to present revised bids but that has not yet happened," secretary of state for defence industries Murad Bayar said.
The United States has voiced deep concern over Turkey's decision in September to enter negotiations with China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corporation (CPMIEC) for its first long-range anti-missile system.
CPMIEC, which makes the HQ-9 missile system, is under US sanctions for selling arms and missile technology to Iran and Syria.
The Turkish move also irritated its allies in NATO, which has said missile systems within the transatlantic military alliance must be compatible with each other.
CPMIEC beat competition from a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, Russia's Rosoboronexport, and Italian-French consortium Eurosam for the deal, estimated at $4 billion (2.9 billion euros).
Bayar said in an interview with Turkey's private NTV television that these companies had until January 31 to submit new bids but that the talks with CPMIEC were continuing.
"If there is a new proposal we will evaluate it... and if we are unable to reach an agreement with the first company, we will look to the next," he said.
Bayar said Turkey, which has defended its choice of CPMIEC, understood the "sensitivities" of its NATO allies but that "everything is being discussed" with them.