Turkey offers to establish technical committee to determine if Russian S-400s pose threat to NATO ally

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ANKARA, TURKEY - AUGUST 15 : Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin holds a press conference at Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on August 15, 2018. Rasit Aydogan / Anadolu Agency

Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın on Thursday said Turkey has been offering to establish a technical committee to ascertain if the country’s purchase of Russian S-400s would threaten the security of NATO ally the United States, the T24 news website reported.

Washington has been raising security concerns over Turkey’s purchase of the Russian air defense system since Ankara is also a part of the F-35 stealth jet program. US officials have offered Turkey US-made Patriot missiles instead, but Ankara insists that the purchase from Russia is a done deal.

“We don’t want to jeopardize the F-35 program that we’re a part of. If you have genuine concerns, let’s figure that out by establishing an impartial, objective committee under the umbrella of NATO,” Kalın told reporters at a press conference in the presidential palace.

The technical committee idea was first mentioned by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at a NATO conference on April 3.

“As a sovereign state, only we decide where to buy our defense systems,” Kalın added.

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