As more information emerges on the tragic Ukrainian passenger jet crash in Iran, it appears the plane may have been accidentally shot down by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile, possibly a Tor-M1.
The Turkish president says that giving up the Russian missile defence system would be an interference in Turkey's sovereignty rights but is open to buying the US's Patriot missile defence system as well.
Mark Esper also stressed that the US will “consider” Turkey rejoining to the F-35 programme if Ankara gets rid of the S-400 system and “take them completely out of the country.”
Russian S-400 air defence system is seen as one of the most advanced missile systems in the world, capable of tracking several targets simultaneously.
"There could be more sanctions to follow, but frankly, what we’d really like is the S-400 not to become operational," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Bloomberg in an interview.
US President Donald Trump's comments came a day after the White House said the Turkey's purchase of Russian air defence system made Ankara's presence in the F-35 programme impossible.
'Turkey will continue to evaluate other alternatives,' says Defense Industries Presidency head Ismail Demir criticising US' announcement to remove Turkey from the F-35 programme.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at the Aspen Institute's annual security forum in the United States, said he was concerned at Turkey's expulsion from the F-35 programme.
Turkey seeks to have an integrated and complex layered air and missile defence system, which will be developed and built up both by national and foreign firms.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey is aiming to develop the defence industry and protect peace in the region.
Former Pakistan intelligence head General Ehsanul Haq and former deputy chief of Indian Air Force Kapil Kak say US defence missiles are no match to tested Russian defence system. Washington has warned Turkey and India against buying S-400s.
"Turkey fulfills all NATO requirements ... We strongly reject linking this matter with the F-35 [fighter jet programme]," Turkey's Defence Minister Hulisi Akar says.
Subscribe to our Youtube channel for all latest in-depth, on the ground reporting from around the world.
Copyright © 2020 TRT World.