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Turkey’s increasing closeness with Russia has been driving Washington and Ankara apart on a number of fronts, including military sales and negotiations over the future of Syria. In a recent development, the US announced a freeze on parts supply to Turkey where certain components of F-35 are manufactured. The US also said it would undertake the parts manufacture from other locations.
Over this backdrop, Turkey may order another set of S-400 air defense systems from Russia if the United States refuses to supply Patriot air defense system to Ankara. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that “if the US does not want to sell Patriot to us, tomorrow we may buy another S-400 system and we also can purchase other air defense systems.”
He claimed that Ankara was capable of approaching any other country in the world with an offer if the US refused to supply the newest fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets to the republic.
“If we can’t have the F-35 jets, we will be forced to satisfy our fighter jets need somewhere else,” he emphasized.
He added that a proposal made to the US on setting up a technical working group to iron out differences over the S-400 had not received any response. Earlier, Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon told tass.com that that the US Department of Defense was not considering plans on creating such a group with Turkey, according to defenseworld.net.
The S-400 is an anti-aircraft weapon system developed by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau. It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007. This air defense system uses four missiles to fill its performance envelope: the very-long-range (400 km), the long-range (250 km), the medium-range (120 km) and the short-range (40 km).
The deliveries of Russia’s S-400 missile systems to Turkey may be carried out by this July or earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to tass.com.