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Turkey: “Highly Likely” to Purchase Chinese Arms Despite U.S. and NATO Criticism

Turkey has since the summer been publicly flirting with a $3.4 billion deal that would see Ankara purchase missile defense assets from the China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp (CPMIEC), a company that among other things is currently under U.S. sanctions for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.

Reaction from Turkey’s NATO allies has been harsh, with a NATO senior diplomat declared that [1] the deal “would certainly leave many of us speechless” and the U.S. expressing [2] “serious concerns.” Domestic reaction has not been much better, and this week the Turkish opposition blasted the government [3] for risking a “rupture” with NATO by pursuing the contract.

Responding to the controversy today, Turkish defense official Murad Bayar doubled down: [4]

“This is a short list and China is in first place. We are going to invite the Chinese, the offer is on the table and we are going to turn this offer into a contract,” Bayar said. “It is highly likely, a great probability, we will sign the contract with the firm we have chosen in first place.”

Bayar told reporters that the deal could finalized in the next six months.

[Photo: rans2023d / YouTube [5]]