The US urged Turkey to send its S-400 air defense systems, purchased from Russia to Ukraine, but Ankara rejected the offer, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.
“There were several proposals from the US considering S-400s. We were told, ‘Give us control.’ This is a proposal that affects our independence. Where is our independence then? … We were even offered to send them (S-400s) to Ukraine, but we said we could not,” Cavusoglu told Turkish broadcaster Haberturk.
Turkey signed a contract with Russia on the purchase of the S-400 air defense missiles worth $2.5 billion in 2017. Under the agreement, the first batch was supposed to be a direct purchase, while the delivery of the second regiment also provided for technology transfer, joint production, and software integration.
The first regiment of Russia’s S-400 air defense missile systems was delivered to Turkey in 2019. In August 2022, Moscow said that the supply of the second regiment of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems was also underway. However, the delivery was postponed in March 2023 due to Ankara’s objection to a clause prohibiting the resale of the equipment to third countries, Turkish media reported.
Ankara had previously ordered more than 100 F-35 fighters from the US. However, after purchasing the S-400s, Washington expelled Turkey from the program. Turkey slammed the move as unjust and demanded its $1.4 billion payment back.
Meanwhile, The Turkish opposition’s calls for joining Western sanctions against Russia are “risky,” as such steps can harm Turkey’s economy and energy industry, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.
Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections are set to take place on May 14. A second round of voting, if necessary, is scheduled for May 28. A number of Turkish opposition politicians said in their campaign statements that Ankara should join sanctions against Moscow.
“These statements are very risky for the national economy and energy sector. We should understand it,” Cavusoglu told Turkish broadcaster Haberturk.
The top Turkish diplomat said during a press conference with his US counterpart, Antony Blinken, in February that the Turkish government did not support the unilateral sanctions imposed without the UN’s approval. At the same time, Cavusoglu assured that Ankara was not going to allow anyone to evade sanctions against Moscow through Turkey.
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