Turkey, a NATO member, has been one of the U.S.'s top defense industry customers. But could it be serious about buying a new air defense system from Russia or China? That's what Hürriyet Daily News is suggesting. In addition to bids from the U.S. and Italy, Turkey is "taking the Russian and Chinese options seriously":
The Russians earlier were hesitant about whether to bid but decided to go ahead and formally submit their offer when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Moscow and held talks with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in mid-January, one business official familiar with the issue said. The Russian S300s are seen as an effective system.
The Chinese, meanwhile, are expected to offer the cheapest price and the highest degree of technology transfer, defense analysts said.
As the paper points out, the Russian and Chinese systems wouldn't be compatible with NATO equipment, and either would seem an unlikely choice. But it's worth recalling that two years ago Turkey bought a few S-300s from Russia and said they were just to "simulate threats that may come from countries with ex-Soviet systems in their inventories," namely the Greek Cypriots.
Meanwhile, the big annual American-Turkish Council conference in Washington, which is traditionally a big forum for interaction between Turkish and American defense officials and industry, was cancelled this year because of the row over the Armenian genocide resolution.