Erdogan: S-400 purchase from Russia will go ahead

Turkish President vows to go ahead with deal to purchase Russian missile defense systems, despite pressure from US not to do so.

Elad Benari,

Turkish President Erdogan
Turkish President Erdogan
Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday vowed to go ahead with a deal to purchase Russian missile defense systems, despite Washington's suspension of Turkey's participation in a US jet program because of security concerns over Russian deal, AFP reported.

Ankara's push to buy the systems from Moscow has caused tensions with the US, its NATO ally.

The US believes the S-400 sale is part of Russian efforts to disrupt the alliance amid Western concern over Erdogan's burgeoning relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

US officials said earlier this week that Washington had stopped delivery of F-35 fighter jet parts to Turkey in response to Ankara's decision to move ahead with the purchase of the Russian surface-to-air missile system.

"The S-400 process is complete," Erdogan said on Friday, according to AFP, adding that the first delivery of the system would be in July.

The Turkish President criticized "really wrong" statements coming from the US over the S-400 purchase and suggested NATO allies should not sanction each other.

Turkey could be sanctioned by Washington under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which rules that any entity doing business with Russia's state and private defense and intelligence sectors risks sanctions.

While Washington has suggested Turkey could opt for Patriot missiles instead of the S-400, Erdogan said that although Ankara was keen to buy the US-produced missiles, "America was unfortunately not giving Patriots to us on the same terms" as Russia.

Despite the US suspension, Erdogan said three F-35 jets had been delivered, though they remain in the US. "The fourth will be delivered in a few weeks."

He said that Turkish pilots were still training in the US.

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence warned Turkey against buying the Russian S-400 anti-missile system.

“Turkey must choose. Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?” he said.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stressed on Thursday that the purchase of the S-400 missile defense systems is a “done deal” and cannot be canceled.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)




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