Trump Says Turkey Treated Unfairly Over Russian Arms Deal (excerpt)
(Source: Financial Times; published June 29, 2019)
By Laura Pitel
ISTAMBUL --- Donald Trump said that he wanted to treat Turkey fairly over its plan to buy a Russian air defence system, striking a conciliatory tone that put him at odds with warnings from US officials that Ankara faces sanctions over the purchase.
Speaking after a meeting with president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 summit in Osaka, the US president acknowledged the concerns of the Pentagon that Nato F-35 jets “aren’t compatible” with Turkey buying the S-400 system.
But he blamed the Obama administration for refusing to sell US Patriot missiles to Turkey. Echoing a frequent complaint by Ankara, he told a press conference: “They kept saying: no, no, no.”
“He needed [a missile system] for defence. So he went to Russia, he bought the S-400 because he couldn’t get it, couldn’t buy it.”
He said that Turkey had been “treated very unfairly” in its efforts to buy Patriots — a claim that has previously been disputed by US officials, who say that Ankara wanted guarantees of joint production and development that could not be met.
Mr Trump said that the issue was made more difficult but the fact that Turkey had already placed an order for 100 F-35 jets. “The problem is that [Mr Erdogan] already bought the planes, and the planes aren’t compatible from our standpoint. . . national security wise. So, it’s a mess.”
Mr Trump’s words are likely to complicate efforts in Washington to persuade Turkey to back down from buying the S-400, which Mr Erdogan has said will arrive in the first half of July. (end of excerpt)
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Trump: S-400 / F-35 Tension Obama's Fault, Not Turkey's
(Source: Anadolu Agensi; published June 29, 2019)
By Vakkas Dogantekin and Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA --- U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday gave strong messages on a wide array of global issues in his closing speech at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
In the Q&A session of his speech, in response to a question about the S400-F35 tension between the U.S. and Turkey, Trump said he puts America first in all matters but cannot turn a blind eye to Turkey's unfair treatment by former US administration, referring to Barack Obama's handling of Turkey's request to purchase U.S. defense systems.
Despite their longstanding strategic alliance as members of NATO, since 2017 Turkey and the U.S. have been at odds over Turkey's decision to buy the S-400, a Russian-made missile defense system, and U.S. threats to break its contract to sell Turkey F-35 jets over the dispute. To defend itself, Turkey first sought to purchase U.S.-made Patriot missiles, but even as the U.S. was sending weapons and ammunition to Turkey’s avowed enemies, the terror group YPG/PYD in northern Syria, Washington chose to ignore its ally's needs and national interests and rebuffed Turkey’s overtures.
Despite growing calls from the U.S. for Turkey to abandon its deal with Russia, Turkish officials describe their transaction with Russia as a "done deal."
"Obama administration said no, no, no to Turkey when they wanted to purchase Patriots and they [Turkey] bought S400," Trump said and called Obama administration's reluctance and failure to sell Patriots to Turkey a 'mess'.
Blaming the Obama administration for the ongoing S-400 / F-35 tension between the two countries, Trump said it is not Turkey's or Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's fault.
"Erdogan is a tough guy but I get along with him," Trump said, thanking the Turkish president for freeing American Pastor Andrew Brunson who was detained in a Turkish jail over his alleged involvement in a 2016 coup against the Turkish government.
He was released in October, a move hailed by the U.S. administration.
Following the meeting of the two leaders in Osaka, a statement from the White House said Trump voiced concern over Turkey's "potential purchase" of Russian S-400 during the U.S.-Turkey meeting in the sidelines of G20 summit in Japan.
"The President [Donald Trump] expressed concern about Turkey's potential purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, and encouraged Turkey to work with the United States on defense cooperation in a way that strengthens the NATO alliance," the White House said. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the AA website.