Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Russian S-400s Will be Delivered to Turkey Next Month - Erdogan

Russia's Sukhoi Su-57 stealth-capable fighter Russia's Sukhoi Su-57 stealth-capable fighter
Steven Clarke | 13 June, 2019, 08:56

Writing to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar last week, US acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan outlined how Turkey would be pulled out of the F-35 program unless Ankara changes course from its plans to purchase the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

Tensions between the USA and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile defense system which Washington said will jeopardize Turkey's role in the U.S. F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger congressional sanctions.

Turkey's plan to buy the Russian air defense system has been a cause of tension within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance, which both the United States and Turkey belong to.

"Turkey has already bought S-400 defence systems".

"This [S-400] system will be delivered to our country next month", Erdogan added.

Turkey on Wednesday criticized a letter from Washington on Ankara's eventual removal from the F-35 fighter jet program, saying the language used did not suit the spirit of alliance between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

The purchase has raised eyebrows among Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and provoked anger in Washington, which expected Ankara to opt for the American Patriot air defence system instead.

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But in the following days, Shanahan told reporters he was unaware of the Turkish request to form a working group.

Erdogan also discussed the situation at Turkey's border with Syria, pledging to sweep the YPG Kurdish militia from northern Syria, and east of the Euphrates, revitalizing a plan put on hold after the United States said it would pull its troops out of the area. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries - Turkey, Greece, and the United Kingdom - ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

Ankara had paid $1 billion 250 million for the F-35 jets until today, the president underlined.

Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the USA with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400 system.

Shanahan said on Friday the U.S. offer for the Patriots was "very competitive" but Erdogan said Russian Federation offered a better deal including reasonable pricing and a joint-production promise. "Won't we take necessary measures to defend our country?" he said. "No, they didn't", he said.

Erdogan also said he wanted to talk about the issue on the phone with the U.S. before he meets President Donald Trump in Osaka, Japan, at the end of this month.

Russian Federation said on Tuesday it planned to deliver its S-400s to Turkey in July.

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