Turkey said on Saturday there was no setback in its plan to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems, despite U.S. opposition, and President Donald Trump expressed understanding for the decision but did not rule out sanctions in response. NATO allies Turkey and the United States have been at odds over Turkey’s decision to procure the S-400s, with the United States warning of sanctions if the deal goes through. Turkey has dismissed the warnings and said it would not back down, as already strained ties between the two countries have deteriorated further over the dispute. Speaking before talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Japan, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the deal for the S-400s showed improving ties between Turkey and Russia. “Now, I believe eyes are on the delivery process of this issue, but there are no setbacks in our agreement,” Erdogan said, adding that it was a priority for Turkey that the deal includes joint production of the systems and a technology transfer. Erdogan also said it was important for Turkey to finish the first reactor in the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, its first nuclear plant, by 2023. He said non-nuclear equipment at the plant should be procured from Turkey. The plant is being built by Russia’s Rosatom at a cost of more than $20 billion. Buying military equipment from Russia leaves Turkey vulnerable to U.S. retribution under a 2017 law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The
“We are open for discussions on delivering S-400 Triumph air defense systems, including to Iran. Especially given that this equipment is not subject to restrictions outlined in UN Security Council’s resolution issued on June 20, 2015,” a representative of the press service of the Russian Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation told Sputnik on Friday.
Turkey will not back down from its decision to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems despite U.S. warnings that it will lead to Ankara’s exclusion from the F-35 fighter jet programme, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday. In what has become the main source of tension between Ankara and Washington, the NATO allies have sparred publicly for months over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s, which Washington has said could trigger U.S. sanctions. U.S. Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan last week sent his Turkish counterpart a letter warning that Ankara would be pulled out of the F-35 jet programme unless it changes course from its plans to install the defences. In what was Turkey’s first direct response to the letter, Cavusoglu said no one can give Turkey ultimatums. “Turkey will not back down from its decisions with these kinds of letters,” he said. “Turkey bought S-400, it is going to be delivered and stationed in Turkey.” The S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defence systems and Washington says they would compromise its F-35s, which Turkey also plans to buy. Turkey has proposed that the allies form a working group to asses the impact of the S-400s, but has yet to receive a response from the United States. Cavusoglu on Thursday repeated Turkey’s call for the joint working group, saying experts from both countries should come together to evaluate U.S. concerns. A day earlier, President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had completed the deal with Russia and that the systems