Turkish decision on China defense deal to take at least six months

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 14, 2013 3:42 AM

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's decision on whether to co-produce an air and missile defense system with a Chinese firm under U.S. sanctions is likely to take at least six months, a senior Turkish defense official said on Thursday.

Turkey announced in September it had chosen the Chinese bid over rival offers from Franco/Italian Eurosam and U.S. firm Raytheon, causing alarm in NATO countries. Officials have said the decision is not yet final.

"The immediate goal for us is in about six months to come to a reasonable level in our contract negotiations (with China) and to understand whether it is possible to implement this program with the first option," Turkey's Undersecretary for Defence Industries, Murad Bayar, told reporters in Istanbul.

(Reporting by Nick Tattersall and Can Sezer)