Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey will not step back from its deal to purchase S-400 missile system from Russia even after an informal deadline which the United States had settled up for Ankara to respond to the rival US offer.
According to Reuters news reports, NATO member Turkey has repeatedly said that it is committed to purchasing the Russian defence missile system, despite the warning from US-led alliance that the missile system cannot be integrated into the NATO air defence system.
The US officials had already set an informal deadline for Ankara on February 15 to respond to the US offer and said if Turkey proceeds its deal with Russia, Washington will immediately withdraw its offer to sell Raytheon Co-Patriot missile package worth $3.5 billion.
The officials also said it would further jeopardize Turkey’s purchase of aircraft, Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, and would possibly result in US imposing sanctions.
According to broadcaster NTV, Erdogan said, “We made the S-400 deal with Russia, so it out of the question for us to turn back. That’s done.”
Erdogan said Turkey was open to buy Patriot systems from the US as long as a deal served serves the country’s interest, but further added there have been some issues over delivering and production were still being getting discussed with the US.
Erdogan said: “The U.S. administration views the early delivery issue positively, but they won’t say anything about joint production or a credit. We continue our work based on the promise of the S-400 deliveries in July.”
The US offer to Turkey to purchase its Patriot systems will get expired at the end of March, the US officials told Reuters, after which it would deliver new offers.
The US has asked Turkey to provide at least an informal respond over whether it would go ahead with Russian deal by February 15. However, still, it is unclear whether Turkey had responded to the US offer.