Turkey’s purchase of Russian air defense missile systems should not trigger US sanctions because Ankara is not an adversary of Washington and remains committed to the NATO alliance, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Monday.
Akar also told a conference in Washington that Turkey expected to remain not just a buyer of advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets but also one of the partner countries involved in its production, despite US warnings that it would be shut out of the F-35 project if it buys the Russian S-400 defense system.
Turkey is carefully studying an offer from the United States to buy Patriot missile defense systems, Akar added.
Early April and after months of warnings, the United States said that Turkey’s decision to buy Russia’s S-400 system was incompatible with remaining part of the emblematic US warplane program.
“Pending an unequivocal Turkish decision to forgo delivery of the S-400, deliveries and activities associated with the stand-up of Turkey’s F-35 operational capability have been suspended while our dialogue on this important matter continues with Turkey,” the Pentagon said in a statement.