Ankara turns down U.S. offer for Patriot batteries - Bloomberg

Updated with comments from Aaron Stein

Turkey has rejected a U.S. proposal to deliver one Patriot missile defence system by the end of 2019, which was conditional on Ankara cancelling the purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems, Bloomberg reported on Friday. 

Two senior Turkish officials, familiar with the talks between the two NATO allies but not authorised to speak to the media, told Bloomberg that Washington had submitted its first offer on Feb. 15 and then had increased the price of the Patriot system in return for quick delivery. The proposal did not include a loan agreement and a technology sharing pact, they said.

Turkish officials said the negotiations between two countries came to a standstill and U.S. officials were not immediately available to comment, Bloomberg said

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 16 that Turkey had three conditions for the purchase of the Patriots; technology transfer, co-production and financial support. He also said that Turkey would not renege on plans to purchase S-400 missile systems from Russia.

Following Bloomberg’s report, Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East programme at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said on Twitter that the United States had not refused technology transfer, but the first two units had to be off the shelf in order to meet Ankara’s timelines and talks on co-production were to take place.

Ankara signed a contract with Moscow worth a reported $2.5 billion in December 2017 for the purchase of the S-400s despite objections from its NATO allies, who are concerned that the system could collect data on NATO jets and undermine their defences.

The U.S. Congress passed legislation in 2018 to block the sale of F-35 advanced fighter jets to Turkey, should the Turkish government take delivery of the Russian missiles. In December, the U.S. State Department informed the U.S. Congress that it had approved a $3.5 billion sale of Patriot batteries to Turkey.