ANKARA — Turkey has agreed to restore all military ties with France, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, and a senior procurement official said that the restored relations covers all arms deals between the two countries.
The deal effectively means that Eurosam, the European missile maker whose members include major French companies, may compete for Turkey’s Long-Range Air and Missile Defense Systems (Loramids) contract, worth about $4 billion.
Eurosam had never been officially excluded from that competition, but the earlier legislation made it unlikely the European missile would be selected.
Ankara canceled all economic, political and military meetings with Paris in December after France’s lower house of parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a draft law to make it illegal to deny that the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, modern Turkey’s predecessor in World War I, amounted to genocide.
France’s highest court overturned the law two months later but the Turkish measures taken against France, which included restrictions on French military aircraft and ships landing or docking on its territory, have remained in place.
Speaking on Turkish television, Davutoglu said Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had ordered the sanctions to be lifted after a positive meeting with France’s new president, Francois Hollande, at a world summit in Brazil.
Competitors in Turkey’s Loramids system include U.S. partners Raytheon and Lockheed Martin with their Patriot-based system; Eurosam with its SAMP/T Aster 30; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the country’s S-300 and S-400 systems; and China’s CPMIEC (China Precision Machinary Import and Export Corp.), offering its HQ-9.
Eurosam’s shareholders include MBDA — jointly owned by British BAE Systems, Italian Finmeccanica and pan-European EADS — and France’s Thales. These companies will work with Turkish partners.
Turkey’s top decision-making body on weapons procurement is expected to meet this month on the Loramids selection.