Turkey Leveraging Major Arms Purchase Against Genocide Recognition

A Chinese HQ-9 launcher (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

From EurasiaNet.org

ANKARA—Turkey is reportedly linking its purchase of a multi billion-dollar air-defense system to whether the bidder countries recognize the Armenian genocide.

That news, reported by a number of Turkish media, is the latest unexpected turn in the multi-year saga over the arms deal. The original bidders for the deal were companies representing the United States, Europe, China, and Russia, giving the program the air of a geopolitical litmus test. When Turkey announced that it planned to give the Chinese company the contract, it faced a barrage of pressure from its NATO allies who were concerned that linking that system with NATO air defense equipment already in Turkey could expose NATO secrets to China.

All along, Turkey has denied that there was any political subtext to its decision, saying that its choice of China was related solely to questions of price and the fact that China would hand over more of the technology to Turkey. Now, though, that appears to have changed. With the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide approaching in April, Ankara is reportedly waiting to see how the various bidders mark that event.

“Rumors in political circles in Ankara said that no decision will be made over the missile defense system winner before [April 24] since Turkey wants to first see France and the U.S.’s position on the 1915 incidents,” reported the pro-government Daily Sabah. “An agreement may be made with China if the U.S. and French administrations take a ‘pro-Armenian’ stance.”

Hurriyet Daily News has reported the same thing:

“’We have agreed with the government leaders not to rush to a decision any time soon,’ one defense procurement official said. ‘A decision before April 24 is out of the question.’

“A senior diplomat confirmed that Ankara first wants to see the U.S. and French positions on the ‘genocide claims’ before awarding a sizeable contract ‘to a bidder potentially from one of these countries.’

“’How these countries observe the centennial of the events [of 1915-1920] will be an important input for our final decision,’ he said.”

And a “top government official for defense and security issues” told newspaper Defense News last month: “One imminent political deliberation is whether the US Congress will recognize the alleged Armenian genocide in April. We will wait Congress’ move before making a decision on the contract.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Ministry of Defense has said that whichever system it buys will not be linked to NATO’s. That would seem to open the door for buying the Chinese equipment. But it also has extended the deadline for the Chinese, American, and European bidders until the summer — as Defense News notes, the sixth time it has made such an extension.

It’s not clear whether official recognition of the Armenian genocide has any more chance to get through Congress this year than it has before. But arguments like Ankara’s have held sway in the past: in 2010, a coalition of American defense contractors wrote a letter to Congress arguing against genocide recognition: “Alienating a significant NATO ally and trading partner would have negative repercussions for U.S. geopolitical interests and efforts to boost both exports and employments.”

But the U.S. bid was relatively unlikely to win; the second-place offer, after China’s, was that of Eurosam, based in France, a country which not only recognized the genocide but even criminalized genocide denial.


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  1. zarkim said:

    Turkey’s BACKSIDE belongs to Russia and china.
    Turkey can portray any game it wants. They must dance to RUSSIAN tune.
    When push comes to shove, Turkey must abandon USA/NATO and join Russia/China.
    NATO must be a fool thinking Turkey is on their side!
    Turkey and Azerbaijan will be Russia’s first PROJECT during any future war.
    Meanwhile, Turkey/Azerbaijan must spend billions every couple of years purchasing Russian/Chinese goods and services – Or else…

    “All that glitters is not gold”.

    • Random Armenian said:

      “NATO must be a fool thinking Turkey is on their side!”

      So what you’re saying is Turkey, a NATO member, is being dishonest to the rest of NATO.

      NATO is a collective of nations who have agreed on mutual defense. If Turkey is not willing to live up to its NATO obligations, then it’s being dishonest to everyone else in the organization.

  2. danoog said:

    At what point does it become financially and politically expedient for Turkey to just say WTF, come clean and be done with it?????
    It sure seems like the genocide recognition movement is gaining momentum.

  3. Vahagn said:

    Oooooh… So ridiculous. How far can go the imagination of a lunatic? Of course Turkey could do this if Armenians fight for the recognition of the occupation of their land but never for genocide. Being genocide victim is a shame for any nation, you know, because it shows that they did not defend themselves and their neighbors and let their enemy to kill everybody. Turks organized themselves and got rid of their enemies and they are being a respected nation. That is it.

  4. Areg said:

    The bottom line is Turkey is guilty of Genocide. Why does Turkey need any weapons? To murder more people than she already has?
    No one should sell any weapons to this barbarian Turkish government. Plain and simple.

  5. GeorgeMardig said:

    Dduring years Turkey have lived on US tax payers money, and this is how Turkey shows gratitude to the West,

    • Alex Postallian said:

      The U.S. diplomats,for years have given us false feedback on jerky turkey.,after the jerks filled their back pockets with BRIBES…..

  6. Sokimag said:

    France will side with us that’s for sure. USA, I’m not sure. But Turkey has no chance to influence France.

  7. tuyn said:

    Turks are not denying it anymore , now what they are saying is if any one recognized The Armenian Genocide we will not purchase the missiles from them plain and simple ,

  8. GeorgeMardig said:

    What will Turkey do if China and US recognize the Genocide, go to the planet Mars to make his purchases?
    here again goes the shortsightedness of Turkey, nevertheless Turkey can’t expect the world to sell for few bucks their freedom forever.

  9. Mike Mirakian said:

    If the USA finally does recognize the Genocide and the Turks refuse to buy their missile system from us as a result,then the USA should cut off the $4+ billion they give them every year. How do you like them apples?

  10. Alex Postallian said:

    Everybody is missing the main question #1.jerky turkey is a COWARD nation,they don’t need that much muscle,only attack countrys 50 times smaller,UNARMED WOMEN AND CHILDREN,OLD PEOPLE.talk too much,do little…LIARS,of the first level..REVISED THEIR INHUMANE HISTORY,ABOUT THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE……REMEMBER,THEY ARE MONGOLS…RUINED ANATOLYA..The only reason,they haven’t given Armenia problems…They are deathly afraid of the BIG BEAR.(RUSSIA)..They don’t have the KURDS TO DO THEIR DIRTY WORK…..REMEMBER,I SAID COWARDS…

  11. Hratch said:

    Mother Russia has already recognized the genocide, how are they expected to win the contract bid?

  12. Alex Postallian said:

    They did then same act on boeing,so they helped the jerky turks,to help influence the bums in Congress,to deny the Armenian Genocide,bill.After they got the job done,they bought ZILCH.BIG CON JOB

  13. David said:

    “a decision before April 24 is out of the question” (Hurriyet) but now they’ve decided to go with the Chinese (Russian knock-off) system with its colourful Circus markings. Why would they miss an opportunity to “leverage” it unless they were

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