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Turkey rejects US ultimatums, says will not back down on Russia deal

Turkey rejects US ultimatums, says will not back down on Russia deal

2019/06/13 | 20:55

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- Turkey will not back down from its decision to buy Russian

S-400 missile defense systems despite US warnings that it will lead to Ankara’s

exclusion from the F-35 fighter jet program, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

said on Thursday.In what has become the main source of tension between Ankara

and Washington, the NATO allies have sparred publicly for months over Turkey’s

purchase of the S-400s, which Washington has said could trigger US sanctions.US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan last week

sent his Turkish counterpart a letter warning that Ankara would be pulled out

of the F-35 jet program unless it changes course from its plans to install the

defenses.In what was Turkey’s first direct response to the letter,

Cavusoglu said no one can give Turkey ultimatums.“Turkey will not back down from its decisions with these

kinds of letters,” he said. “Turkey bought S-400, it is going to be delivered

and stationed in Turkey.”The S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defense systems

and Washington says they would compromise its F-35s, which Turkey also plans to

buy. Turkey has proposed that the allies form a working group to assess the

impact of the S-400s, but has yet to receive a response from the United States.Cavusoglu on Thursday repeated Turkey’s call for the joint

working group, saying experts from both countries should come together to

evaluate US concerns.A day earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that

Turkey had completed the deal with Russia and that the systems will be

delivered in July. Russia has said it will begin the delivery of the systems in

July.Erdogan also said that Ankara would challenge its potential

removal from the F-35 program on every platform and hold those who exclude

Turkey accountable.Speaking after a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Presidential

Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said he hoped the F-35 issue would not escalate to an

international issue, and added that Turkey would receive the jets.“The F-35s, which are Turkey’s right, will most certainly be

delivered to our country,” Kalin said. “We hope that the United States will

turn back from this stance that permanently damages bilateral ties by using the

S-400s as an excuse as soon as possible,” he said.Kalin also said a meeting between Erdogan and Russia’s

President Vladimir Putin was being planned at the G20 summit in Japan, where

Erdogan is also expected to meet with US President Donald Trump.LETTER DISPUTEThe United States has threatened to impose sanctions on

Ankara under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act

(CAATSA), the possibility of which has spooked investors and caused a selloff

in the lira this year.The currency slid more than 1% against the dollar on

Thursday.While Turkey has dismissed the US warnings, Washington has

said discussions are taking place with Ankara on selling Turkey rival Raytheon

Co Patriot defense systems. But, Erdogan has said the US offer was not “as good

as the S-400s”.Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said Turkey is working on a

response to Shanahan’s letter and that it will be delivered in coming days.The ministers later spoke by telephone on Thursday and

discussed the letter, Turkey’s defense ministry said, adding that Akar had

“emphasized the improper wording not in line with the spirit of the Alliance”

in the letter during the call.Kalin on Thursday reiterated that Shanahan’s letter to Akar

was not in spirit of the alliance between the NATO allies, and added that he

had discussed the issue with Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton.Israel’s deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan said the

strains between Turkey and the United States could help strengthen ties with

Israel and boost the country’s participation in the F-35 program.“It could also very much be that… the State of Israel will

get another portion within the framework of the F-35 and additional things

which, in part, were meant to have been transferred to factories in Turkey,” he

told Army Radio.











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