Turkiye, Politics

Erdogan reiterates bid for working group on Russian S-400

Turkish president, US counterpart agree to meet at G20 summit in Japan next month over phone

Faruk Zorlu   | 29.05.2019
Erdogan reiterates bid for working group on Russian S-400 File Photo


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a phone conversation Wednesday with U.S. President Donald Trump in which he reiterated Ankara’s proposal to form a working group to discuss Turkey’s pending procurement of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

Turkish presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter that Erdogan and Trump also discussed bilateral and regional issues.

Washington has balked at Turkey's purchase of the S-400s.

U.S. officials have advised Turkey to buy the Patriot missile system rather than the S-400 system from Moscow, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems.

Turkey has responded that it was the U.S. refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding Russia offered it a better deal, including technology transfers.

Separately addressing the U.S. move to lower tariffs on Turkish steel, Erdogan told Trump that his decision will contribute to realizing the $75 billion bilateral trade volume target.

Two weeks earlier, Trump lowered tariffs on Turkish steel imports from 50% to 25%.

The two leaders also agreed to meet at the G20 summit scheduled to be held June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan, Altun added. 

The White House separately said the presidents discussed a number of bilateral issues during their phone call, including the "shared desire to increase trade," Turkey's plans to buy the S-400 and Trump's decision to reduce steel tariffs. 

* Michael Hernandez contributed to this report from Washington

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