has indicated it will not bow to US demands to terminate deal with
Russia over S-400 missile defense systems, calling on fellow NATO
member Washington to abandon its "language of threats."
remains firm in its intention to procure two batches of Russian S-400
surface-to-air missile defense systems, the first one of which is set
to be delivered next year, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut
Çavuşoğlu said on
the purchase of the units "a
must for us," Çavuşoğlu
pointed out that Turkey had previously sought to buy US-made Patriot
missile systems, but the US failed to provide any guarantee that the
deal would be approved by the lawmakers.
have to protect our airspace. This is a must for us. They should
understand it. Can the US give us a guarantee to sell
top diplomat said at a press conference in Lithuania.
retaliation to Ankara's refusal to let the US dictate its military
hardware supplier, Washington has been stalling the delivery of F-35
stealth fighters to Turkey, hoping to use it is a leverage to coerce
it into walking out of the S-400 contract.
arm-twisting approach has angered Ankara, further stressing tensions
between the two NATO allies. Turkish-American relations have soured
over the fate of US national Pastor Andrew Brunson, charged with
terrorism and espionage in Turkey as part of the crackdown following
the failed military coup of 2016. Ankara has been staunchly refusing
to hand the pastor over to Washington. The man is facing up to 35
years behind bars.
reminded Washington that Turkey itself is a supplier for
some of the major components for the F-35 jets, and called on the US
to drop its "language
warned that Turkey would not hesitate to retaliate if Washington
keeps trying to browbeat Ankara into compliance.
they say they can do anything they want, like in cowboy movies, then
they will get a response," he
downplayed the political implications of the $2.5 billion deal with
Moscow, saying that the defense contract does not mean Turkey
prioritizes relations with Russia over any other country, including
can perfectly balance its foreign policy in the region," he
and the US have been routinely trading verbal blows over the pending
S-400 delivery and repercussions Ankara might face if it does not
scrap the deal.
on Tuesday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Washington does
not "recommend" the
purchase. While he conceded that it was
buy the complexes from Russia, he still argued that they couldn't be
integrated within the existing NATO infrastructure.
Monday, a US congressional delegation led by Michael Turner (R-Ohio),
visited Turkey in a bid to persuade it to abandon the S-400 deal in
exchange for securing the delivery of F-35 jets, Turkish