Turkey to buy Russian missiles despite U.S. threats, says VP Oktay

Ankara will not bow to Washington’s sanctions over its agreement to purchase Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defence systems, pro-government news outlet A Haber quoted Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay as saying on Sunday.

Turkey’s planned-purchase of the S-440 system has strained ties with the United States, which maintains the systems are not compatible with NATO equipment and may compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets. Washington has warned of possible U.S. should Ankara follow through with the Russian deal.

Turkey, a partner in the production of the F-35s, says the S-400s and jets would not impact each other and has remained firm on its deal with Russia.

It has proposed forming a working group with Washington to assess the impact of the S-400s, but says it has not received a response yet.

Washington’s concerns are unreasonable and Turkey’s planned July delivery date for the S-400s remains unchanged, Oktay said. 

“When Turkey signs an agreement, Turkey keeps its promise. We signed this agreement and certain payments were made,” the Turkish vice president said. “I don’t think the arguments and concerns here have a lot to lean on.”

Washington has also offered to sell Patriot air defence batteries to Turkey, of Ankara cancels the S-400 purchase.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, slated to visit Turkey next week, told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday that decisions about defence procurement were left to individual countries.

“The issue of procuring military materiel is a national decision for countries, but the ability of allied armies to work together is a fundamental issue for NATO to run its operations and missions,” the NATO secretary general said.

Stoltenberg also said he welcomed talks between Ankara and Washington on the procurement of the Patriot systems and talks between Turkey and the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium on its SAMP-T systems.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday that the F-35 project would collapse without participation from Turkey

Ankara has said it expected U.S. President Donald Trump to use a waiver to protect it against penalties over the S-400s, following a statement from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Ankara could face sanctions.