Turkish defense officials have said the country is open to new offers from other companies for contract discussions on a long-range missile defense system even though Ankara selected a Chinese firm for the project on Sept. 26 Today1s Zaman reported
"The process has just started. If the second and third [companies in the list] send their [new] offers to us, that will be useful through the discussion phases with the current one. So, everybody is free to send a last offer," Defense Minister İsmet Yilmaz told reporters yesterday.
There was no problem with the current talks, the minister said when asked about the discussions with the Chinese company with whom Turkey will jointly produce the systems.
China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp (CPMIEC) beat out competition from a U.S. partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and a European Italian-French consortium defense in the tender, but NATO officials have expressed concern that Turkey's selection of the company could mean sensitive data will be shared with a non-alliance member.
The minister also confirmed that the amendment in legislation paved the way for a top commander to appoint a political consultant for himself who will be in charge only during the commander's term.
"The chief of General Staff would be able to appoint any adviser regarding any issue, whether NATO, politicians or technical issues," Yilmaz said.
The minister dismissed concerns that a civil adviser could politicize the Turkish Armed Forces.
The top commander would be able to assign a civil media consultant, the minister added.