Trump: S-400 tension Obama’s fault, not Turkey’s

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U.S. President Donald Trump on June 29 gave strong messages on a wide array of global issues in his closing speech at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

In the Q&A session of his speech, in response to a question about the S400-F35 tension between the U.S. and Turkey, Trump said he puts America first in all matters but cannot turn a blind eye to Turkey’s unfair treatment by former U.S. administration, referring to Barack Obama’s handling of Turkey’s request to purchase U.S. defense systems.

Despite their longstanding strategic alliance as members of NATO, since 2017 Turkey and the U.S. have been at odds over Turkey’s decision to buy the S-400, a Russian-made missile defense system, and U.S. threats to break its contract to sell Turkey F-35 jets over the dispute.

Despite growing calls from the U.S. for Turkey to abandon its deal with Russia, Turkish officials describe their transaction with Russia as a “done deal.”

“Obama administration said no, no, no to Turkey when they wanted to purchase Patriots and they [Turkey] bought S400,” Trump said and called Obama administration’s reluctance and failure to sell Patriots to Turkey a ‘mess’.

Blaming the Obama administration for the ongoing S400-F35 tension between the two countries, Trump said it is not Turkey’s or Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan‘s fault.

Erdoğan is a tough guy but I get along with him,” Trump said, thanking the Turkish president for freeing American Pastor Andrew Brunson who was detained in a Turkish jail over his alleged involvement in a 2016 coup against the Turkish government.

He was released in October, a move hailed by the U.S. administration.

Following the meeting of the two leaders in Osaka, a statement from the White House said Trump voiced concern over Turkey’s “potential purchase” of Russian S-400 during the U.S.-Turkey meeting in the sidelines of G20 summit in Japan.

“President [Donald Trump] expressed concern about Turkey’s potential purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, and encouraged Turkey to work with the United States on defense cooperation in a way that strengthens the NATO alliance,” the White House said.

“Turkey is a NATO member and was not treated fairly,” Trump earlier said in a joint presser with Erdoğan, referring to the Obama administration’s reluctance to sell Patriots to Turkey in 2013.

Asked about possible sanctions against Turkey, Trump said “we are looking at it, but it’s a two-way street.”

Trump also touched on the trade volume between Turkey and the U.S., saying “$75 billion is small. I think it is going to be well over $100 billion soon.”

He also said he will visit Turkey this year. Asked if it will be in July, he said the date is not set yet.

The strategic partnership shared by Turkey and the U.S. encouraged further cooperation on various fields, the Turkish president said on June 29 following his meeting with the U.S. counterpart.“…

Above all, we have a strategic partnership, which promotes our cooperation in various fields,” Erdoğan said, adding he believed this cooperation would continue in the same manner in the coming period.

Hurriyet Daily News

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