In a strategic move, Turkey signed a letter of intent with France and Italy to develop its national missile defense systems – fending off the assumptions that Turkey was moving away from its NATO alliance after signing an agreement with Russia in September to buy S-400 surface-to air missiles.
Apart from the air and missile defense systems, according to the Turkish defense ministry sources, the three NATO members would focus to jointly produce military equipment and electronic systems.
The letter was signed during Turkish defense minister Nurettin Canikli’s visit to Brussels on Wednesday. Turkish companies are supposed to work with French and Italian consortium EUROSAM to look into the SAMP-T – based missile system of EUROSAM. The compatibility of needs would be determined during this process.
After Turkey announced in September that it had signed a deal to buy S-400 missiles from Russia, many of Turkey’s Western NATO allies had expressed deep concerns. It was assumed as a blunt indication by Turkey to break away from more than half-a-century long alliance.
The deal was significant as Turkey began to redefine its strategic and security objectives in the region and in Syria, in particular, after discovering that the United States is providing arms to the PYD/YPG.
Turkey’s relations with the West still remain strained because of many issues surrounding the country’s both internal and external security concerns. Turkey’s current agreement with France and Italy is expected to reverse the strained relations.