‘Turkey feels humiliated not having its own missile defense system’

Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Turkey considers not having its own missile defense system to be a humiliation for a country which is getting stronger, developing economically, and which wants to be a regional power, international relations expert Huseyin Bagci, told RT.

Turkey has announced it is considering ordering a long-range missile defense system from China, which has provoked concern from other NATO members.

Up until now, Turkey has not had its own missile defense system and borrowed this kind of weaponry from other countries within the military alliance, says Bagci.

Since 1991 Iraqi War Turkey borrowed “from America, from Germany and from the Netherlands Patriot missile systems in order to protect its own borders,” he said.

In 2013, Ankara picked the China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp as a preferred bidder among several other proposals for a new system.

“The Chinese company was the only one which was coming with Turkish terms much better than [any] Western country or NATO member,” the expert said.

According to Turkish government officials, the final decision has yet to be made.

Despite NATO reaction, and particularly from the US, Ankara seems decided on getting its own missile defense system to protect its borders. Bagci says NATO members such as Germany and the Netherlands had deployed Patriots on Turkish soil to protect against potential missile attacks from Syria but later announced they were going to withdraw the systems.

“And after this the countries are taking back the entire system and Turkey feels that the borders are not protected enough. From this perspective the main idea of the Turkish government is to have a permanent defense system on the borders, and not to rely on other NATO-members’ defense systems. So this is probably also the decision of Turkey to be alone, to be strong and to be a regional power…able to protect itself,” Bagci said.

However it remains questionable how that system is going to be applicable because NATO is using a different type of system, Bagci added.

“The problem is of course how to combine this within the existing technological and political structures within NATO, within the Western allies. This would be creating much further debate, but Turkey is very decided to have its own defense systems and this decision is not going to be changed probably.”

Huseyin Bagci thinks that it is a “humiliation” for Turkey, which is getting stronger and developing economically, not to have its own defense system.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.