Turkey, Politics

Turkey: No delay in delivery of Russian S-400 system

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to speak with US counterpart Mike Pompeo on Saturday

Gözde Bayar   | 09.05.2019
Turkey: No delay in delivery of Russian S-400 system

ANKARA

Turkey on Thursday denied announcing a delay in the delivery of Russian S-400 air defense systems, an issue which has sparked tensions with the U.S.

"We have not made a statement regarding the delay of S-400s to Turkey," Mevlut Cavusoglu said after a meeting at the presidential complex in capital Ankara.

The top diplomat said some countries including the U.S. demanded that Turkey should not procure S-400s, arguing they are incompatible with NATO systems and a threat to the F-35 fifth-generation stealth aircraft. 

He added that he will speak with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo over the phone on Saturday.

Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile system.

Washington maintains the move will jeopardize Turkey's role in the F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger congressional sanctions.

Turkey decided in 2017 to purchase the S-400 system following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success.

Cavusoglu proposed to have a joint working group assess whether the S-400 will pose a threat to NATO or not.

He said he hoped the U.S. will accept the suggestion and resolve the issue. 

Speaking about U.S. sanctions on Iran, he said such moves harm the public.

Noting that Iran and Turkey are neighbors, he added that the sanctions will not only affect Iran but also the region.

Touching upon Turkey-EU relations, Cavusoglu said Turkey’s main focus is the visa liberalization dialogue. 

In December 2013, the EU and Turkey launched the dialogue in order to eliminate the visa obligation currently imposed on Turkish citizens travelling to the Schengen area for a short-term visit.

He added that Turkey demands an equal treatment from the EU as a candidate country in the accession process.

Speaking at an event on Europe Day, Cavusoglu said that Turkey's full membership of the EU will strengthen the bloc.

Turkey applied for the EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.

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