ANKARA — Turkey would consider renegotiating a Chinese bid to construct the country's first long-range air- and anti-missile defense system, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. That bid has largely remained idle after several months of negotiations.
Erdogan said that the $3.44 billion deal with China would be discussed during his visit to Beijing.
"We would certainly welcome a proposal that would 'enrich' the [original] offer," Erdogan said.
In September 2013, Turkey said it selected China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. (CPMIEC) for the air defense architecture, a contract dubbed T-LORAMIDS.
CPMIEC, offering a solution at $3.44 billion, defeated the European Eurosam, maker of the Aster 30, and the US Raytheon/Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot system.
But talks with the Chinese contender have never matured and the contract remains to be signed. Meanwhile, Turkey has opened parallel negotiations with the European and US bidders.
NATO and US officials have warned that any Chinese-built system could not be integrated with Turkey's joint air defense assets with NATO and the United States.
The Turkish program consists of radar, launcher and interceptor missiles. It has been designed to counter enemy aircraft and missiles. Turkey has no long-range air defense systems.