Turkey sticks to U.S. missile technology demand to end S-400 pursuit

Turkey is still insisting that the United States transfer Patriot missile technology and approve joint production of the weapons to end its pursuit of Russian air-defence systems, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The Turkish government took delivery of Russian S-400 missiles last year despite U.S. threats of sanctions, saying that a deal for buying the Patriots had failed to match a Russian offer on technology acquisition and joint production. Last week, Turkey reportedly carried out a test of the S-400 system, sparking condemnation from Washington.

"Only Russia has responded to Turkey’s needs suitably,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar as saying in an emailed response to questions ahead of a virtual meeting of NATO defence ministers on Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

The United States says that Turkey’s possession of the S-400 potentially threatens the security of advanced NATO weapons. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's refusal to cancel the missile deal, agreed in 2018, has resulted in the ejection of Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and calls in Congress for further sanctions. 

Akar said Turkey could still buy Patriots under the “right conditions”.

“If you are selling a system, it is your duty to persuade whoever necessary and deliver the system,” he said.

The deal to provide two S-400 battalions to Turkey did not include even partial transfer of technology, a military source told Russia’s TASS news agency in January.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, said the United States had worked hard to ensure Turkey dropped plans to purchase the Russian missiles.

“We, along with our whole NATO alliance, have done everything we could to divert Turkey from buying a missile defence system by our acknowledged adversary Russia,” Hutchison said during an online press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.