NATO warns Turkey against buying Chinese, Russian air defense systems

An S-300 air defense missiles launcher and a S-300 missiles guidance station at undisclosed location in Russia.

From Umit Enginsoy, Hurriyet:  Ankara would have to operate without NATO’s intelligence information on incoming ballistic missiles if it chooses to buy Chinese or Russian systems for its national air and missile defense program, officials of the Western alliance have warned Turkey.

Participating in the ongoing competition to win Turkey’s national air and missile contract are the U.S. partnership between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, with their Patriot air defense systems; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S300; China’s CPMIEC (China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp.), offering its HQ-9; and the Italian-French Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30. Turkey is planning to make its selection late this year or early next year.

Many Western officials and experts say that since the Russian and the Chinese systems are not compatible with NATO systems, their potential eventual victory might provide them with access to classified NATO information, and as a result may compromise NATO’s procedures.

But despite this criticism, Turkey so far has ruled against expelling the Chinese and Russian options, saying there is no need to exclude them from the Turkish competition.

One Western expert countered that “if, say, the Chinese win the competition, their systems will be in interaction, directly or indirectly, with NATO’s intelligence systems, and this may lead to the leak of critical NATO information to the Chinese, albeit inadvertently. So this is dangerous.”

“NATO won’t let that happen,” another Western official told the Hürriyet Daily News on Monday. “If the Chinese or the Russians win the Turkish contest, their systems will have to work separately. They won’t be linked to NATO information systems.”

This was the first time NATO has strongly urged Turkey against choosing the non-Western systems.  (photo: AP)

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