U.S. letter won’t change Turkey’s mind on S-400 - Erdoğan
The letter former U.S. Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan sent to Turkey’s National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar earlier this month will not force Turkey to “toe the line” and cancel its purchase of a Russian missile system, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a speech on Tuesday.
U.S. officials have repeatedly advised Ankara that the Russian-made S-400 missile defence system is incompatible with U.S. and NATO systems, warning of sanctions and expulsion from the U.S.’ F-35 fighter jet programme. Last week, the U.S. military halted F-35 training for six Turkish pilots.
Turkey has been preparing to respond to Shanahan’s letter, and on Tuesday
On Tuesday, Turkey announced that a response had been sent and that Shanahan’s letter had been improperly worded. “The letter reiterated the discomfort from the style and approach that was not in line with the spirit of alliance,” said Defence Minister Hulusi Akar.
In his speech, Erdoğan said the S-400 deal is complete, that he expected delivery in July and that his government would not back down.
The president asked why Greece, also a NATO member, could purchase a Russian S-300 defence system without issue. The S-300 defence system was transferred by Cyprus to the Greek island of Crete in 1998, after the Mediterranean island nation’s purchase of the missiles triggered a crisis with Turkey.