AMERICAS ASIA EUROPE MIDDLE EAST AFRICA TURKIYE

ARTS & CULTURE BUSINESS LIFE SPORTS

A PLACE CALLED PAKISTAN DIGITAL DOCUMENTARIES FOCAL POINT OFF THE GRID STORYTELLER

PERSPECTIVES RESEARCH CENTRE WORLD CITIZEN JOBS

Turkey understands NATO's concern on Russian S-400s – Turkish FM

  • 19 Apr 2019

Speaking at a news conference with his Polish and Romanian counterparts, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey is taking the utmost care to ensure that the S-400 system is under full Turkish control.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a press conference in Ankara, Turkey on April 19, 2019. ( AA )

Turkey understands NATO's concern on the procurement of the Russian S-400 air defence system, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

"We need to take into consideration NATO's concerns [regarding S-400]. It is not true to say Turkey disregards them. We are always sensitive," Cavusoglu said at a joint news conference with his Polish and Romanian counterparts in capital Ankara.

"Our allies and NATO must also understand this very well. We need our air defence system urgently," he said.

Cavusoglu added that Turkey is taking the utmost care to ensure that the S-400 system is under full Turkish control.

He said that Turkey does not believe that the S-400 would threaten the F-35 program, of which Turkey is also a partner.

The deal for Russian S-400 missiles riled Washington, prompting US officials to suspend Turkey's participation in the US-made F-35 jet programme and warn of sanctions against its NATO ally.

US officials have suggested Turkey buy the US Patriot missile system rather than the S-400, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems.

Turkey has responded that it was the US refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russia offered it a better deal, including technology transfers.

Talks with US

Two months before the first batch of S-400s could arrive in Turkey, a team of senior Turkish ministers visited Washington this week for talks aimed at easing the crisis, culminating in an unexpected Oval Office meeting with the president.

Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters on Thursday, "We're closer" to a final decision on the S-400s after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart. "It's like, 'OK, where are we stuck? How do we get unstuck?" he said of the talks, adding he was optimistic.

Few details of the White House meeting have emerged, but Turkish media quoted Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, as saying Trump had a "positive understanding ... regarding Turkey's needs for the S-400s."

Other ministers and officials on the trip, including Turkey's defence minister and Turkish presidential spokesman, and national security adviser, said the visit gave Washington the chance to get a better understanding of Ankara's point of view.

Turkey has proposed a joint working group which it believes could help convince the United States that the S-400s do not pose a direct threat to the US military or its jets.

The deadline on a US counteroffer to sell Turkey a discounted Patriot missile defence system was extended earlier this year and remains open, according to Turkish and US officials.

But neither side has given any ground publicly. Turkey reiterated the Russian purchase was a "done deal" and the US administration stuck by its warning that S-400s and F-35s could not operate in the same space.

Related

Popular