Pence: ‘We Will Not Stand Idly By’ As Turkey Purchases S-400 (excerpt)
(Source: Military Times; posted Feb 16, 2019)
By Tara Copp
MUNICH --- Vice President Mike Pence repeated warnings to Turkey not to proceed with the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, a day after Turkey dismissed the first of two deadlines to cease with the planned sale.
Pence, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, told attendees “we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East."
The U.S. had set a Feb. 15 deadline for Turkey to respond and signal their intentions to cease with the sale, a U.S. official told Military Times. If Turkey refuses, a forthcoming sale of a Patriot missile defense system from the U.S. will be halted.
“We have been clear with Turkey,” the U.S. official said. “The will not receive the Patriot if they purchase the S-400."
The Patriot sale, estimated at $3.5 billion, would cover the procurement of 80 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced and 60 PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles, as well as associated equipment. (end of excerpt)
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Erdogan Says Won't Go Back On S-400 Deal with Russia (excerpt)
(Source: Focus News Agency; posted Feb 16, 2019)
ANKARA --- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would not "turn back" on a deal with Moscow to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems in comments published on Saturday, reported AFP.
Turkey's push to buy the systems has raised questions among NATO allies over their compatibility with alliance equipment as well as concerns over the burgeoning relationship between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We agreed a deal with Russia on the S-400, so for us to turn back from the deal is out of the question. This is a done deal," Erdogan said, quoted by CNN Turk broadcaster.
The United States in December approved the sale of $3.5 billion in missiles to Turkey, which followed Washington anger over Turkey's intention to buy Russian systems.
Turkey was "open" to buying US Patriot missiles, Erdogan told Turkish journalists on board his plane from the southern Russian city of Sochi after a three-way summit on Syria with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.
"But this sale must serve the interests of our country. To this end, joint production, credit and early delivery are of vital importance," Erdogan added.
The Turkish leader said the US administration "looked positively" at early delivery but "said nothing regarding joint production and credit". Erdogan said work continued for the systems to be delivered in July as promised before.
Washington has warned Turkey the S-400s purchase jeopardised participation in the F-35 fighter jet programme. US officials have said Ankara could even face sanctions on defence purchases under US law if it goes ahead.
But Ankara has said the two defence systems are not seen as an alternative for the other.
The S-400 deal is one of the key symbols of the warm relationship enjoyed by Erdogan and Putin, who have also worked closely on finding a political solution to the Syrian war.