Sep 14 2019

Turkey's Erdogan to discuss purchase of U.S.-made Patriot missiles with Trump

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told Reuters on Friday that he had discussed buying U.S.-made Patriot batteries with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in a phone call two weeks ago and would follow up those talks when he would meet Trump at the UN General Assembly next week.

A U.S. State Department official told CNN last month that the U.S. administration formally had withdrawn its offer to Turkey for Patriot batteries, after Turkey had started receiving the delivery of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in July.

“I said no matter what package of ... S-400s we get, we can buy from you a certain amount of Patriots,” Erdoğan told Reuters.

“But I said we have to see conditions that at least match up to the S-400s,” Erdogan said, adding that he was referring to the possibility of joint production and favourable lending terms.

The Turkish president said he had told Trump they would discuss the issue in greater detail during their meeting next week. During his last meeting with Erdoğan on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka in June, Trump said Turkey had been forced to buy Russian systems as the former U.S. administration under Barack Obama had refused to sell Patriots to Turkey. 

Washington in July suspended Turkey’s participation to the joint production programme of F-35 stealth fighters and halted the delivery of 100 F-35 jets Turkey had purchased over concerns that S-400 missile systems in Turkey could allow a possible Russian subterfuge. 

Trump is also under the pressure of a bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for further punitive measures against Turkey under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA.

The U.S. Treasury might also impose a heavy fine on Turkey’s state-run Halkbank for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. When Reuters asked Erdoğan whether he would ask U.S. president to prevent a heavy penalty, Erdogan said he was confident they could avoid such a “mistake”, citing what he said was “a different kind of trust” between the two men.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-erdogan-exclusive-idUSKCN1VY26O