Turkey, Americas

Turkey continuing talks with US over Patriot missiles

Turkish foreign undersecretary also set to visit Washington, perhaps next week, as part of bilateral working groups

23.03.2018
Turkey continuing talks with US over Patriot missiles Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy delivers a speech during a press conference in Ankara, Turkey on March 23, 2018. ( Abdülhamid Hoşbaş - Anadolu Agency )

By Merve Aydogan

ANKARA

Turkey said Friday that it is continuing talks with the U.S. over buying Patriot missile systems.

“I can say that our discussions with the U.S. regarding Patriot missile system are continuing,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy told a news conference in the capital Ankara, while discussing NATO-integrated defense systems.

Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Umit Yalcin is set to visit Washington soon, "possibly next week", as part of working groups established between Turkey and the U.S., added Aksoy.

Turkey and the U.S. have been trying to iron out a number of issues, principally concerning the terrorist YPG/PKK in Syria, a group the U.S. has worked with, calling it a "reliable ally" in the fight against Daesh.

Towards that end, Turkey and the U.S. have established working groups to discuss a number of issues including the stabilization of Manbij, Syria and preventing any undesirable clashes.

Aksoy urged the U.S. to continue working groups discussions towards establishing "concrete" results. 

On Yalcin's visit, Aksoy said: "Assessment of results from the working group will be done, and a joint understanding is projected."

Underlining that Turkey's efforts to establish a NATO-integrated defense system are continuing, Aksoy said: "Thus, our consortium with France and Italy over Eurosam [air defense systems] is being carried out in this framework” in addition to talks with the U.S. over Patriots.

In January Turkey’s Defense Industries Undersecretariat and Franco-Italian manufacturer Eurosam signed an anti-missile defense system agreement.

Turkish-EU relations

On the March 26 Turkey-EU summit in Varna, Bulgaria, he said Turkey expects to "revitalize" relations with the EU following the summit. 

He also stressed that the EU must show a "more constructive stance" to build trust in relations. Updating the Customs Union agreement, visa-free travel for Turkish nationals, and expediting the transfer of funds for Syrian refugees are expected to be discussed at the summit, he added.

On Turkey’s push for the extradition of Salih Muslim, former co-leader of the PYD/PKK terrorist group, he called on EU countries not to be a "hypocritical" and "fulfill our requests." 

Asked about the final statement from Thursday’s European Council meeting calling on Turkey to end "illegal actions" around Cyprus, Aksoy said: "The EU has completely lost its objectivity on the matter of Cyprus. If this attitude continues, it is impossible to accept the EU as a third party on the Cyprus issue."

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