Turkey mulling other missile systems

Oct. 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- The Turkish defense sector is open for business should U.S. and European missile contractors express interest, the foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said a controversial missile deal with China isn't yet finalized. If European or U.S. counterparts came forward with a deal of their own, "we would continue holding talks with them too," he was quoted as saying Saturday by Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman.

Ankara in September backed a contract for a missile defense system with China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp. The U.S. State Department said there were "serious concerns" about the contract because of the sanctions imposed on the Chinese company.

The U.S. government has sanctioned the Chinese company for ballistic missile sales to the Iranian and Pakistani governments.

The Turkish newspaper reported U.S. defense company Raytheon was ready to supply Turkey with its Patriot missile system should Ankara submit a request. The Chinese FD-2000 system is a rival to the Patriot system.

Davutoglu said a defense contractor must cooperate with its Turkey counterparts no matter which system is chosen.

NATO said the Chinese missile system isn't compatible with missile systems employed in member states.

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