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Dec 20 2018

Turkey cannot buy both Russian, U.S. missile systems - strategist 

Turkey cannot buy both the S-400 missile defence system from Russia and the competing Patriot system from the United States, an emerging markets strategist said to CNBC.

Turkey is also planning to go ahead with a previously negotiated purchase of S-400 systems from Russia even if the United States decides to sell Patriot missile system, two Turkish government officials familiar with the country’s defence policy told Bloomberg on Wednesday. 

"Turkey cannot buy both," Tim Ash, a senior emerging markets strategist at Bluebay Asset Management, told CNBC. "I think the U.S. will pull both the Patriot sale and F-35 deal if Turkey goes along with the S-400.

"Net-net, I think the news about Patriot is still a positive, as it shows the United States and Turkey are talking and moving back closer together. That said, the Turks might be trying to drive too hard a bargain, and might end up with nothing as a result."

A Russian spokesperson said the S-400 purchase and the U.S. decision to sell Turkey the competing Patriot systems are separate issues, CNBC reported.

"We are fulfilling agreements that we have with our Turkish colleagues. You know that the contract is being fulfilled. This will be continued," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, CNBC wrote. 

A State Department official told CNBC that the decision to sell the Patriot system is “consistent with U.S. initiatives to provide key allies with modern systems capable of being networked against regional instability.” 

But the Patriot and S-400 systems cannot be operated together, and the F-35 jets that Turkey is helping to build and hopes to acquire would not work with the S-400, CNBC said.

Turkey’s decision last year to buy the surface-to-air missile system from Russia has frustrated U.S. officials who do not want a NATO ally possessing the S-400, which is built to target the new American F-35 fighter jets that Turkey is helping produce. Congress has tried to thwart the scheduled transfer of two F-35 jets to Ankara as a result, CNBC said. 

This week Washington opened the way for Turkey to purchase the Patriot missile system despite Turkish officials saying that the S-400 purchase cannot be undone. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged Ankara to reconsider its position in recent months, while Turkey has maintained it s position.