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Buying Russian Defense System Should Not Trigger US Sanctions: Turkey

WASHINGTON: 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 said that Turkey expected to remain not just a buyer of F-35 stealth fighter jets but also a partner 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.

“We firmly believe that linking the S-400 to the F-35 project is unfortunate,” he told a conference in Washington. “We expect the United States and other project partners to honor their commitments”.

The United States says it will not allow F-35s to operate alongside the Russian defense system. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that Washington had told Ankara it could face retribution for buying the S-400s under a sanctions law known as CAATSA.

Akar repeated Turkey’s offer to hold technical talks with the United States to address “technical concerns” over the S-400 purchase.

Turkey is also assessing a renewed offer from the United States to buy Patriot missile defense systems, Akar added. “Recently we received the restated offer for the Patriots. This offer is now on the table, we are studying it carefully.”