Turkey is weighing the possibility of purchasing new defense technology amid heightened tensions in the region, Defense News reported earlier this week. Turkish industry sources said they wanted to develop the Medium Extended Air Defense System domestically, but would likely have to import the units because of the immediacy of the purported risks.
“We are facing a multitude of threats and may not have the luxury to wait for several years before an indigenous development program materializes,” one senior security official told Defense News.
Turkey was for years in discussion over the purchase of its first long-range air- and anti-missile defense system from China but has scrapped the plan. The Medium Extended Air Defense System is jointly developed by the U.S., Germany and Italy. It is meant to provide 360-degree protection from ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircrafts and rockets.
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Turkey has heightened its border security amid growing spillover from Syria in recent months. The country has repeatedly been targeted by the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants. Last November, tensions rocketed between Ankara and Moscow after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane that Turkey claimed violated its airspace.
“Shifting geopolitical balances in the region dictate that a system like MEADS may earn a priority tag in Ankara,” the security official said.
Domestic production of the technology could take up to 10 years. A defense analyst reportedly said that Turkey could buy up to four systems, but discussions were still in their early stages.