Turkey mulling over US-built Patriot missile deal: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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Ankara, Sep 14: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has on Friday said he is likely to hold bilateral talks with United States President Donald Trump on purchasing American-built surface-to-air Patriot missiles this month, in defiance of ongoing intense friction between two nations ignited by Ankara’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defence missile system.

In an interview with Reuters news agency on Friday, Erdogan stated he held a telephonic conversation with Trump around a couple of week ago on possible purchase of Patriot systems, and said he would follow up on their phone talks when the pioneers meet at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled to kick-off next week.

“I said no matter what package of … S-400s we get, we can buy from you a certain amount of Patriots,” Erdogan said.

“But I said we have to see conditions that at least match up to the S-400s,” he said, adding he was giving reference of the potential bilateral production and favourable lending regulations, according to Reuters news reports.

The Turkish president’s statements come after the nation brought Russian air defence missile system, in defiance of Trump’s resistance to such move and threats that has irked the US and raised a prospect of US sanctions against it.

The US department of state has a proposal to ink deal of US-made Raytheon’s Patriot missile defence system to Turkey had expired.

On August 29, Mark Esper, defence secretary of the US, has said Ankara could roll back to America’s F-35 fighter jet programme if the nation abandons Russian deal.

He also stressed Washington will “consider” Ankara rejoining the F-35 programme if Turkey abandons the S-400 system and “take them completely out of the country”.

Turkey had received its batch of the S-400 system deliveries in July. Prior to this, the US president already removed Ankara from f-35 aircraft training programme.


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