US has gone from threatening sanctions to offering a deal but this has failed too
Turkey won’t strike a deal on purchasing American-made Patriot air defense missile systems if the US ties it with tearing up the existing arms contract with Moscow, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
“The S-400 deal has already been finalized. We can agree with the US on the Patriot system, but not if there will be [a condition] to abandon the S-400s,” the minister stated on Thursday, as quoted by NTV.
Turkish media reported earlier that the contract presented by the Americans says the missiles will only be delivered if Ankara abandons the S-400 purchase.
The US Department of State approved the sale of 80 Patriot missiles and 60 PAC-3 missile interceptors last month. Cavusoglu confirmed that Ankara received a formal proposal to buy the weapons and will consider the terms. But in no way should Washington attempt to meddle in the nation’s arms deals with other partners, the minister warned.
NATO allies can get whatever air defense systems they want.
The deal to buy Russia’s advanced S-400 air defense missile system was signed by Ankara last year following lengthy negotiations. The first batch of S-400s is scheduled to be deployed in October.
Alerted by the Russian-Turkish talks, officials in Washington unsuccessfully attempted to dissuade its ally from dealing with Moscow. Last year, Congress passed a law effectively blocking the shipment of 100 F-35 jet fighters to Turkey. Lawmakers cited the risks that the sale of S-400s poses to the US and NATO.
US diplomats and military officials similarly tried to pressure India out of buying the S-400 as the transaction could potentially violate American laws on sanctions placed on Russia. According to local media, Washington even proposed granting New Delhi a free pass on receiving arms from Moscow if it also buys the US’ F-16 aircraft.
Despite pressure from overseas, Turkey and India maintained that they can freely choose partners in the arms trade without interference from Washington or anybody else. “We don’t need permission from anybody” to purchase the S-400s, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in September.