Recently, Turkey has agreed with Russia to buy S-400 missile system.

Previously, Turkey's talk with Eurosam failed apparently because they were reluctant to enter co-production (see, p-22/32).

Are they reluctant to share sensitive technology with Turkey? If YES, why?

Is that distrust? If YES, why?

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    Turkey of late hasn't exactly been a model of democracy, nor has it been a very stable country. Jul 19, 2017 at 18:11
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    @DenisdeBernardy, really? Then why is it still a part of NATO? Why hasn't NATO kicked it out yet?
    – user4514
    Jul 19, 2017 at 19:07
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    Because, as an answer to one of your recent questions put it, an orangutan is at the helm. Also, realpolitik is still a thing. Jul 19, 2017 at 19:10
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    @anonymous: out of curiosity, what type of answer besides the obvious "because a quasi-dictator is at the helm and we don't like him as much as the Saudis because they've no oil" are you hoping for? Jul 19, 2017 at 19:31
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    @Relaxed: Turkey was making headlines in Europe along the lines of "dawn of democracy" just a few days ago in France, the UK, and Germany, owing to the failed coup and the purge that followed from a year ago, and limits on the press. I've no idea what rock you're living under... Jul 19, 2017 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


Military export deals fail all the time, there is a long way from publicized talks to an actual purchase. And there are always multiple bids or offers on the table. The industry is also keen on spinning any bit of positive news and you will hear about many many deals that will fall apart down the line, some of them simply because there is no agreement on price. And if you think it has anything to do with Turkey being somehow controversial for the French industry, I can easily name export contracts with Switzerland or Germany that failed very close to the end of the negotiations!

Another issue that's more specific to this industry is technology transfer: In a typical export contract, part of the gear will be manufactured locally in the destination country and the exporting country will train local workers, provide design documents, etc. In all likelihood, that's what the reference to “co-production” is about and if there was any sort of principled reluctance from the French cabinet (as opposed to diverging economic interests), you wouldn't read in the next sentence that Thales and MBDA are still talking with Turkey to put another deal in place.

Technology transfer also means that a big share of the added value and the economic benefits end up in the destination country rather than the source country, which is why it's always contentious. And if you give away too much of your intellectual property, you run the risk of your customer-partner turning into a competitor in a few years time. That issue is always bitterly discussed and can make any deal fail.

Importantly, from all the sources you presented, apart from a vote in the US Congress, I see no indication that there is any specific reluctance to sell to Turkey, just the usual defense industry business. The only newsworthy aspect is that instead of biting the bullet and taking a relatively bad deal, Turkey choose to snub NATO allies and buy Russian stuff. But I do not see any sign that Turkey is having any trouble finding western countries ready to do business with it, at least if they were ready to pay a premium and eschew technology transfer.

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