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Will Turkey Buy European Missile System?

Will Turkey Buy European Missile System? 25 September, 2020

According to Bloomberg Agency Turkey approached France to procure European-made air defence systems. The agency claimed that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a phone call and asked his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to drop his opposition to co-production of Eurosam’s SAMP/T missile-defence systems. The agency stated that officials could not be named as the discussion was private. Macron responded by saying that Turkey must clarify its objectives in Syria before deployment of European made systems could be considered, according to an Elysee official, who also asked not to be named.

Last two weeks were tense as France backed Greece and Greek Cyprus against Turkey in territorial disputes. Erdogan spoke with Macron on Tuesday, when Turkey and Greece announced an agreement to resume talks.

In 2018, a joint French-Italian consortium, Eurosam, signed a cooperation agreement to work on the development and production of the long-range air and missile defence system. In the mid-2020s, it was announced that the system would be produced and improved.

In June 2020, President of Defence Industries İsmail Demir said, "Part of the reason why there is no concrete development about SAMP-T despite the execution of the identification study is France’s political attitude towards Turkey. There is a possibility that the project will continue with Italian partners, but the process may be blocked."

Even though the Agency claims that Turkey wants to purchase European-made air defence systems, there is a co-operation between Turkish and European companies. Turkish Defence Ministry’s press briefing back in July 2019 gives hints about the co-operation. The briefing mentions co-operation between Turkish ASELSAN and Roketsan along with European missile system producer Eurosam.

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