MOSCOW: The United States has been pressing Turkey, its NATO ally, to reject a plan to purchase Russia’s cutting-edge S-400 missile systems, which Turkey estimates to be three times cheaper than a $3.5 billion order for US anti-aircraft weapons.
Turkey has rejected the offer by the United States on the sale of US long-range surface-to-air Patriot missile systems until the end of 2019 providing that Ankara refuses to purchase Russia’s S-400 air defence system, Bloomberg reported citing official Turkish sources.
The statement comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on 16 February that Ankara was not satisfied with the United States’ reluctance to give Turkey a loan needed to buy Patriot air defence systems or organise joint production of the weapon.
Earlier, Ismail Demir, head of the main state body dealing with arms procurement and production told NTV television that “it is not possible for us to accept the content and details of the proposal as it is at the moment. The conditions must be discussed, there are a series of issues that must be clarified and a compromise must be reached”.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Anadolu news agency on 1 March that the United States had offered to sell the Patriots and that “the delegations are negotiating”.
The United States has repeatedly threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey if it purchases missile systems from Russia.