Turkey Plans to Buy Missile Defense System–But Not from NATO

By turning to Russia and China for a missile defense system, Turkey could be jeopardizing relations with its NATO allies. (Photo: Daniel Phelps/US Army)

Early in 2015, reports came in that Turkey is likely to remain with a Chinese deal to purchase its missile defense systems from Beijing.

Turkey’s plans to modernize its Turkish Armed Forces to adapt to a new security environment apparently include acquiring sophisticated and affordable missile defense systems.

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While a missile defense system compatible with the NATO systems would assure Turkey of being able to successfully intercept missiles along with other NATO countries, a non-NATO missile defense system could severely jeopardize its relations with its NATO allies and the U.S.

Turkey’s quest for a missile defense system appears to have begun in 2009, when United States decided, as part of its European Phased Adaptive Approch (EPAA), to field a sophisticated missile defense system in Europe.