U.S. Vice President Warns Turkey, Germany Over Dealings With Russia

Apr 05, 2019, 00:39
U.S. Vice President Warns Turkey, Germany Over Dealings With Russia

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Ankara does not have to choose between Russian Federation and other countries, amid plans to purchase Moscow's S-400 system and F-35 fighter jets from US.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has refused to back down from Ankara's planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defence system that the United States has said would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu appeared unmoved by the U.S. threats, saying the purchase of the S-400 system "is a done deal".

"It's a done deal", Çavuşoğlu said during the "NATO Engages" event in Washington, D.C., to mark the alliance's 70th anniversary.

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The freeze on related equipment remains in place, but officials determined that the delivery of additional jets to Luke's training program "didn't pose risk" to the US, the official said.

Of Germany, Pence restated a point President Donald Trump has said for years: Germany is falling short on meeting the 2% of GDP defense spending target for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members.

Cavusoglu said Turkey turned to Russian Federation as it could not buy US Patriot missiles and quoted President Donald Trump as saying in an unspecified phone call that his predecessor Barack Obama had made a "mistake" not to sell the system to Ankara.

Cavusoglu said Turkey's chief prosecutor has yet to make a decision as to whether or not to release any additional details about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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But so far, Turkish pilots continue to train on the aircraft at Luke Air Force Base, outside Phoenix, Arizona. But the Pentagon now is holding up delivery of US-made F-35 parts to Turkey.

"Turkey is a partner in the supply chain in the Joint Strike Fighter, so we not only have to look at whether we can transfer those assets to Turkey, but we also have to determine what role Turkey could play in the supply chain", Tillis said.

"We will agree on new measures of support for our close partners Georgia and Ukraine", NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of Thursday's session.

But acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday that he expected Turkey's F-35s to ultimately be delivered and was optimistic that Ankara would purchase the Patriot instead.

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Washington has said it is halting deliveries to Turkey related to the F-35 program in response to Ankara's purchase of the Russian missile system.

The Trump administration tried enticing Turkey to scrap its reported $2.5 billion deal with Moscow by making a counter-offer: in January, American officials let Ankara know it could buy Raytheon's $3.5 billion Patriot surface-to-air missile system at a discount valid until the end of March.

He told reporters that the USA has made it clear to Turkey that the F-35 and the S-400 are incompatible systems, "but we're still working our way through that and hope we can come up with an arrangement".

Turkey's foreign minister also said he doubted the existence of a USA peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians - an effort that Trump's son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner has been leading for the U.S.

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