Turkey, Politics, World

If US holds back Patriots, Turkey could buy more S-400s

Turkey's foreign minister says Ankara may buy fighter jets from another source if Washington backs out of F-35 deal

Fatih Hafiz Mehmet and Burak Bir   | 10.04.2019
If US holds back Patriots, Turkey could buy more S-400s

ANKARA

If the U.S. refuses to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey, it could buy more Russian S-400 missiles or other air defense systems, Turkey's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Speaking on a Turkish news channel, Mevlut Cavusoglu responded to U.S. criticisms of the S-400 purchase, underlining that other NATO countries had previously procured earlier generation S-300 missiles without this conflicting with their membership in the alliance. 

"If the U.S. refuses to sell us Patriots, tomorrow we could buy a second S-400 [system], or another air defense system," he said.

Rebuffing U.S. threats to cancel a deal for F-35 jets if the S-400s are delivered, Cavusoglu said Turkey could buy fighter jets from another sources until it is able to produce its own if Washington followed through.

Washington has balked at Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system, and last week suspended the delivery of parts and other services related to the F-35s.

U.S. officials have suggested Turkey buy U.S. Patriot missile systems rather than the S-400 from Moscow, arguing it would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.

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

Touching upon Washington’s move to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps as a "foreign terrorist organization," Cavusoglu said it was an extremely dangerous decision to recognize a country's formal army as terrorist organization. 

He criticized the U.S. for its cooperation with the YPG/PKK terrorist organization, underlining that Washington was in contradiction of itself by designating another country’s armed forces as a terror group, while itself working with another.

Referring to Tuesday's election in Israel, Cavusoglu said Tel Aviv should "give up populism and its aggressive attitude," and immediately take steps towards a two-state solution.

"The two-state solution is the only solution for peace in Palestine, Israel and the region," he said.

Unofficial results indicate that Netanyahu will be able to form the upcoming Israeli government. More than 40 parties vied in Tuesday’s election with a turnout of 61%.

 

"Attacks" on Tripoli should be halted

Cavusoglu underlined that Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar's offensive to capture the country’s capital of Tripoli, he said taking over the city through military attacks would be a "disaster" for Haftar and Libya.

Last Thursday, Haftar, a military commander based in eastern Libya, launched military operations with an ambitious campaign to capture the capital Tripoli, where the UN-backed GNA is headquartered. After initial success, however, the campaign appeared to have lost momentum Monday.

Cavusoglu went on to say the attacks on Tripoli should be halted one way or another.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody, NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi after four decades in power.

Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power: one in the eastern city of Benghazi, with which Haftar is associated, and another in Tripoli, which has UN support.

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