Foreign Policy Magazine’s The Complex yesterday outlined legislative efforts, written by Congress into the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to respond to Turkey’s controversial decision to purchase missile defense assets from a Chinese company blacklisted by Washington.
Turkey stunned U.S. officials in September when it reached a provisional deal worth up to $3.4 billion with a Chinese company blacklisted in the United States to build Turkey’s first long-range air and missile defense system. Monday, Congress drew a line in the sand over it: If the 2014 U.S. defense spending bill goes through as proposed, it will ban the use of U.S. funding to integrate Chinese missile defense systems with U.S. or NATO systems, effectively making it impossible for Turkey to operate Chinese equipment with many partner nations.
A top NATO official had in October described the Turkish move – which would require linking the Chinese system to existing NATO assets already stationed in Turkey – as one which would functionally implant a “virus” into NATO’s command and control infrastructure. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to criticism over the deal – which came not only from the U.S. and its NATO allies but also from Turkey’s opposition – by lashing out and accusing critics of infringing on Turkish “independence.” Murad Bayar, head of Turkey’s Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry, confirmed late last week that Turkey is still leaning toward making its purchase from China.
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