Turkey sacks official involved in China missile talks

A U.S. Patriot missile system is seen at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep. Turkey’s NATO allies voiced concern when it announced the missile deal with China. (File photo: Reuters)

Turkey has removed Murad Bayar, the Defense Ministry’s undersecretary for state-run defense industries, from his post with immediate effect, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The ministry did not give a reason for the decision.

Bayar had been influential in Turkey’s negotiations with China over the procurement of a missile defense system from the latter.

Turkey’s NATO allies voiced concern when the country announced in September that it had chosen China’s FD-2000 missile defense system over rival offers from the Franco/Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and U.S.-listed Raytheon Co.

It said China had offered the most competitive terms and would allow co-production in Turkey.

On Thursday, Hurriyet Daily News reported that the Chinese firm China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp. (CPMIEC) made its first public statement on Turkey’s $3.4 billion long-range air and missile defense system.

CPMIEC claimed that the deal was “almost done.”

Coordinator of the project, Wu Yang, was quoted by the Turkish daily as saying “it’s almost done. We are also approaching the end in the evaluation of Turkey’s requests.”

The deal was won in late 2013 and at the time, the Chinese company was under U.S. sanctions.

The company has long been penalized by the U.S.; in 2003, Washington said it was extending sanctions on the firm for arms sales to Iran. However, It is unclear when those measures were first imposed, reported Reuters.

(With Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
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