Turkey signed a Memorandum of Understanding with France and Italy on Wednesday to strengthen cooperation on joint defence projects, including the production of air defense and missile defence systems.
Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Thursday that the Memorandum of Understanding included the development of a modern model of a missile system, its manufacture and use by Italy, France and Turkey.
As a first step, the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium and Turkish companies will examine a SAMP-T rocket system-based system and identify the common needs of the three countries, sourced said.
Nonetheless, NATO member Turkey emphasises that it is buying the highly modern Russian ground-to-air missile defence system type S-400.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Brussels, where Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli attended a NATO summit meeting.
„It is still quite early to predict possible results of the feasibility study with Eurosam“, said defense expert Arda Mevlütoglu, quoted by the pro-government Turkish news website Daily Sabah. „But the most important thing is that this agreement shows that Turkey and Eurosam have a strong desire for further cooperation.“
„The S-400 agreement is only aimed at increasing Turkey’s defence capabilities. It is not politically motivated“, the expert continued.
The procurement of a long-range missile defence system by Turkey has been given priority in recent years with the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.