ARLINGTON, VA - APRIL 13: Turkish Minister of National Defense Fikri Isik (C) and his delegation join U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis for a working lunch at the Pentagon April 13, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia. Turkey is working with the United States to fight the Islamic State terror organization in Syria, where Thursday an American-led coalition airstrike killed 18 Syrian fighters allied with the U.S. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
ANKARA — Every new day Turkey and Russia are inching closer to a final deal on the Turkish acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 air defense architecture. But the Ankara government also said it reached a deal with the European group Eurosam to develop a similar air and anti-missile defense system.
Rostec, the Russian company brokering the S-400 deal, has said that Ankara and Moscow agreed on all technical matters for the S-400 program – which US officials warn and Turkish authorities admit would not be interoperable with the U.S. and NATO assets deployed on Turkish soil. Turkish ambassador to Moscow, Huseyin Dirioz, has said that the Turkish work to assess the Russian solution is continuing.
"The S-400 solution stems from [Turkey’s] urgent requirement," Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said.
But Isik also said that Turkey and Eurosam have agreed to jointly develop a similar air and anti-missile defense system "in line with Turkey’s requirements."
"This [Eurosam program] is a high-caliber and big project … involving research and development and co-production," Isik said. "Turkey, Italy and France will seek to define the [air defense] requirement for all three countries." Eurosam is a majority Italian-French partnership.
Earlier this year the Turkish government said it may buy the S-400 for its near-mystery program to build the country’s first long-range air and anti-missile defense system.
For its long-range air defense system, dubbed T-LORAMIDS, Turkey in September 2013 selected China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation’s $3.44 billion solution, which defeated rival bids from Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T; a consortium of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, maker of the Patriot system; and the Russian-made S-300/S-400 option.
Under pressure from its NATO allies, Turkey later scrapped the preliminary deal with CPMIEC and the competition. Since then Ankara has held talks with the Western contenders, but it also commissioned two domestic state-controlled companies, Aselsan and Roketsan, to locally develop the system.