Washington seems to be still perturbed by the S-400 air defence systems which Turkey is purchasing from Russia. The US reportedly offered to provide Turkey with Patriot Missiles and be in the F-35 development program if it scraps its purchase of the S-400 systems.
Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed that Ankara had already finalised the S-400 deal and would buy the missile systems from Russia “without any question”.
Turkey should choose between buying the Russian S-400 system or staying a partner in the US’s F-35 weapons programme, Republican Senator James Inhofe, the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Bloomberg.
“For Turkey to remain in the F-35 program, it can’t move ahead with procurement”, Inhofe pointed out. He portrayed Turkey as a key NATO ally, which he warned should act in accordance with this status.
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“The bottom line is: Turkey must make a decision between Russia and the West. If it moves ahead with buying the S-400 from Russia, there will be consequences,” Inhofe said.
His comments came after a Pentagon report, which was mandated by Congress, which cautioned that the US administration will “reassess Turkey’s continued participation as one of the eight partner nations” in the F-35 programme if Ankara purchases the S-400.
Bloomberg also quoted US military expert Steve Zaloga as saying that the US is concerned over Turkey’s plans to buy S-400 systems because a number of Russian specialists will be “deployed to the client’s country for training and upkeep”.
Zaloga also recommended that Turkey may “allow Russian specialists to test out the S-400 radars/sensors against a Turkish F-35 with the ultimate aim of undermining the F-35’s counter-radar detection features”.
Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara decided to buy Russian S-400 systems because Moscow offered “the best deal”. The “S-400 is a done deal. We have already finalised this deal and we will buy S-400s from Russia without any question.
In the last 10 years, we tried to buy air defence systems from our US friends, I mean the Patriots, but it didn’t work,” Cavusoglu emphasized. His remarks came after Turkey’s news agency cited a high-ranking source in Washington as saying that the US continues to regard the S-400 air defence system a threat to its F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Turkey.
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