Turkey sent personnel for S-400 training in Russia, but says US talks improving
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said he sees an improvement in talks with the United States over the purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems and US F-35 fighter jets, but added that Ankara was also preparing for potential US sanctions.
Akar said that Turkey sent military personnel to Russia for S-400 training, and will send more in coming months, adding that Russian personnel may come to Turkey as well.
Akar said that he sees improvement in talks with the US on issues of F-35 jets, Patriot systems, and the situation in Syria east of the Euphrates. He added that Turkey is working on price, technology transfer, and joint production issues in the latest US offer for Patriot systems.
Turkey and the United States are at odds over Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which cannot be integrated into NATO systems. Washington says the move would jeopardize Ankara’s role in building Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, which it says would be compromised by the S-400s.
Speaking to reporters late on Tuesday, Akar said that Turkey was fulfilling its responsibilities in the F-35 project and that Ankara expected the program to continue as planned. He said talks with US officials were still underway.
He also said Turkey was evaluating a US offer to purchase the Raytheon Co. Patriot systems, adding that Ankara and Washington were working on price, technology transfer, joint production issues on the latest offer from US officials.