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No turning back from Russian Federation S-400 deal - Turkey
05 April 2019, 12:39 | Tara Lloyd
US defense chief hints Turkey will drop S-400 bid | Article
The United States has halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete U.S. step to block delivery of the jet to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally in light of Ankara's planned purchase of a Russian missile defence system.
Ankara is also planning to purchase 100 F-35 fighter jets from the US and its pilots are now training on the weapons platform at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
The dispute could scupper Nato's attempt to present a united front to Russian Federation over its aggressive actions in the Black Sea as plans are made for the 29 member nations to agree measures today including increased marine patrols.
Ankara has been establishing closer links with Russian Federation after recent souring of its ties with the USA and Europe.
Mr Cavusoglu met on Wednesday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, whose Democratic chairman and ranking Republican member said they "made clear our bipartisan opposition" to Turkey's plan to acquire the Russian missile system.
The S-400, they say, is created to detect and shoot down stealth fighters like the F-35.
A senior State Department also said this week in a briefing that Ankara could face USA sanctions if it goes ahead with the S-400 deal.
Turkey has engaged with USA negotiators in recent days about buying the Patriot system, a person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
The tough step came after months of warnings from Washington that Turkey's adoption of Russian missile technology alongside U.S. fighter jets would pose a threat to the F-35 technology and endanger Western defences.
"Because Turkey is not just an F-35 purchaser, but an industrial partner, blocking delivery of these systems represents a major escalation by the United States as it threatens to impose serious costs on both sides", Hunter said.
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The US has also been pushing for Turkey to buy America's Patriot missiles instead. But the Pentagon now is holding up delivery of US-made F-35 parts to Turkey.
It was reported in November 2016 that Turkey was in talks with Russian Federation on purchasing S-400 air defense missile systems.
In order to prevent the PKK and its extensions from tightening their grip in northeast Syria and disrupting peace efforts in the region, Turkey aims to accelerate the Manbij process that was launched in June with the U.S. As part of the deal, Turkey and the U.S. agreed to work on the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij.
"The radar is an electronic intelligence collection platform", said Aaron Stein, director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Middle East program.
The Trump administration tried enticing Turkey to scrap its reported $2.5 billion deal with Moscow by making a counter-offer: in January, American officials let Ankara know it could buy Raytheon's $3.5 billion Patriot surface-to-air missile system at a discount valid until the end of March.
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