Washington leaves Turkey's letter on S-400 unresponded - Turkish defence minister

The United States hasn’t responded to a letter Turkey sent to resolve tensions over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday.

Akar repeated his proposal of what Turkey calls the Crete model, and told reporters in Ankara on Friday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency, that the S-400s could be used “like the S-300s are”.

Following a crisis with Turkey in the 1990s, Cyprus handed over to Greece the S-300 missile systems it purchased from Russia, which were then positioned on the island of Crete in an inactive state.

“The S-400 is a defence system; it is used when it is needed against threats and danger. If there are no intentions to attack Turkey, it hurts nobody,” said the minister, and added that Turkey will "use S-400 independent from the NATO system."

The United States expelling Turkey from a programme to build and purchase the F-35 stealth fighter jet and imposing sanctions on the Turkish defence industry were acts “unbefitting of an ally,” he added.

Akar also spoke about the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt on the armed forces.

According to the minister, Turkey has removed 21,194 people from the armed forces since the failed coup attempt.

The government’s battle against remaining elements of the Fethullah Gülen movement, which it blames for the putsch, will continue, Akar said.