‘Turkey will not turn back from S-400 defense system acquisition’

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by Daily Sabah with Reuters-Turkey will not turn back from its acquisition of Russian S-400 defense systems, over which the United States sanctioned Ankara, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said on Thursday, adding that Ankara would seek to resolve issues with its NATO ally through dialogue.

Speaking in an interview with public broadcaster TRT Haber, Kalın also said Defense Minister Hulusi Akar’s recent comments had been misunderstood but did not elaborate. Kalın said talks are being held with Washington over their disagreements, but that quick solutions to problems over a host of issues should not be expected.

Turkey’s defense minister said on Tuesday that Ankara would propose only partially activating the S-400s in negotiations with the United States.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and its chief Ismail Demir in December. Sanctions were imposed to penalize Turkey for its purchase of the S-400s.

The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) – designed to deter any country from agreeing to military deals with Russia – also restricts U.S. loans and credits to the SSB, although that is not seen as having a significant impact.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry, in its immediate response, condemned the decision while reminding of the U.S.’ unfair stance throughout the S-400 purchase process.

Ties between NATO allies Turkey and the U.S. were badly strained in 2019 over Ankara’s acquisition of the advanced S-400 Russian air defense system, prompting Washington to remove Turkey from its F-35 Lightning II jet program.

The U.S. argued that the system could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the Lockheed Martin F-35 jets and that is incompatible with NATO systems. Turkey, however, insists that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Ankara has repeatedly stressed it was the U.S.’ refusal to sell its Patriot missile systems that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russia had offered a better deal, including technology transfers. Turkey even proposed setting up a commission with the U.S. to clarify any technical issues.

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