ANKARA, Turkey, July 24 (UPI) -- Turkey is interested in pursuing ballistic missile technology in an effort to protect its national security interests, a defense official said.
An official in the Turkish Defense Ministry told daily newspaper Today's Zaman, on condition of anonymity, that Ankara was exploring its defense options in light of emerging security challenges.
"There are ongoing meetings on what can be done regarding ballistic missiles," the official said. "The establishment of satellite launch vehicles will provide the capability of sending missiles outside the atmosphere."
The conflict in Syria is threatening to spill into Turkey. Simmering tensions over Kurdish militants along the southern border with Iraq are complicated by escalating concerns over Iran.
The Turkish newspaper suggested the United States, China and Russia may be among the contenders for a future ballistic missile defense system for Turkish defense.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, a day after the prime minister met with his top defense officials.