By BURAK EGE BEKDIL
Defense News - Sep. 6, 2014
Senior government officials and procurement authorities here have distanced themselves in recent days from a disputed air defense deal with a Chinese company under US sanctions. A senior official from the prime minister’s office said that as technical negotiations with China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. (CPMIEC) have been dragged into several problematic areas, “this option now looks much less attractive than it did last year. “We are weighing the merits and demerits of other options,” the official said. “There remain scores of unanswered points about the Chinese solution.” In September 2013, Turkey announced CPMIEC would construct the country’s first long-range air and anti-missile defense system for US $3.44 billion. The Chinese contender defeated a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot air defense system; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S-300; and Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the Aster 30. Turkish officials said if contract negotiations with CPMIEC fail, talks would be opened with the second-place finisher, Eurosam. Next in line would be the US bidder. The Russian option has been eliminated.