SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) _ FMC Corp.'s Defense Systems Group and a Turkish partner will receive a $1 billion contract from the Turkish government to build armored combat vehicles, it was announced Thursday.

Defense Minister Ercan Vuralhan said at a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, that the joint venture between FMC and Nurol Defense Industry will be invited to negotiations and are expected to sign a final agreement in a month.

A spokesman for the FMC Defense Systems Group, which is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and has a manufacturing facility nearby in San Jose, said the deal calls for about 1,700 armored vehicles to be manufactured over the next eight years.

Similar vehicles are being made under FMC license in Belgium and the Netherlands, according to spokesman Bill Highlander.

''We are very pleased with the decision,'' said William Walter, general manager of the group's international division. ''We will begin immediately to finalize contract arrangements.''

FMC Defense Systems Group is a major producer of combat vehicles, naval guns and missile launchers for the U.S. military and its allies. Its parent company is Chicago-based FMC Corp., one of the world's leading producers of machinery and chemicals for industry, government and agriculture.

According to Turkish newspaper reports, the FMC-Nurol group offered to co- produce AIFV-type armored combat vehicles, popular for their ability to operate in water without add-on flotation devices and their transportability in C-130 class aircraft.

The reports said the vehicles have a 25mm cannon and a capacity to carry 10 people with a maximum speed of 45 mph.

''This partnership will strengthen FMC's international business, the Turkish army and the Turkish economy,'' said James McGinnis, FMC project manager.

Erdem said the FMC-Nurol proposal pledges to hire local sub-contractors for the construction of several parts of the vehicle.

He said the first locally-produced vehicle would roll off the assembly line in 1 1/2 years.

Erdem said the project offered new employment opportunities to 10,000 Turkish workers.