Erdogan: My relationship with Trump is good

Turkish President says he will use his "good" relationship with Trump to try to defuse crisis over Turkey's S-400 purchase.

Elad Benari ,

Trump and Erdogan
Trump and Erdogan
Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he will use his "good" relationship with US President Donald Trump to try to defuse a crisis between the NATO allies over Ankara's purchase of Russian missiles, AFP reported.

Turkey’s decision to purchase the S-400 Russian system has resulted in tensions with the United States.

Washington says the S-400 poses a threat to the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 stealthy fighters, which Turkey also plans to buy.

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

Erdogan and Trump are due to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, at the end of June, a month before a US deadline to Turkey to renounce its deal with Moscow.

Speaking Thursday at a foreign media briefing in Istanbul, Erdogan insisted on his affinity with Trump, and drew a distinction between the US president and the administration.

Erdogan said his close relationship with Trump could allow for a favorable outcome to reduce tensions that have poisoned relations between the allies for several months.

"Our relations with Trump are at a level that I would describe as good. We discuss matters when there is a problem, we conduct telephone diplomacy," Erdogan said, according to AFP.

Erdogan added he would ask Trump during their meeting at the G-20 whether he felt sanctions against Turkey were suitable.

"I am sure he does not believe this," Erdogan said, adding that he did "not see such sanctions happening".

US officials said recently that the United States has decided to stop accepting any additional Turkish pilots who planned to come to the United States to train on F-35 fighter jets due to the S-400 purchase.

Turkish officials insist that the deal to purchase the S-400 does not affect the security of the US and have repeatedly stressed that they will go ahead with the deal despite Washington’s objections.

Erdogan on Thursday said that Turkey had paid $1.25 billion for the 100 F-35 jets and would seek compensation in an arbitration court if these aircraft were not delivered.

"Turkey is just not any country for the US, we have a strategic partnership going back so many years. They should think carefully because losing Turkey will not be easy," he warned.

He reiterated that the S-400 was a "done deal" and the system would arrive in the first half of the July.

"The positions where those missiles will be deployed have already been decided," Erdogan said.




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