Turkey gives priority to Boeing in AWACS tender
Turkey announced that US company Boeing would have priority in negotiations for a lucrative contract for at least six early warning and control aircraft (AWACS), without ruling out the second participant in the tender.
"We will give first priority in contract talks to Boeing and then to Raytheon," Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit told reporters here after talks with military and defense industry officials.
The decision meant Turkey will start talks with Boeing, but will reserve the right to turn to Raytheon, a US company bidding in a joint venture with Israeli Aircraft Industries, if it fails to hammer out a deal with Boeing.
Ecevit said Turkey would purchase "six or seven" aircraft under the contract, estimated to be worth some $1.5 billion. Negotiations with Boeing would begin immediately, he added.
Turkey opened the tender in June 1998 with initial plans to buy four AWACS. The conditions of the tender, however, included options for the purchase of six, seven or eight aircraft. Ankara has launched two other big tenders — for 145 combat helicopters and 1,000 tanks.
Turkey, which has the biggest army numerically in NATO after the US, its main arms supplier, intends to spend some $150 billion to modernize its army over the next 30 years. — (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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