Turkey dug into its refusal to abandon its new Russian missile defense, saying it won’t bow to threat of crippling U.S. sanctions or trade the S-400s for an American system.
“They said they would not sell Patriots unless we get rid of the S-400s. It is out of question for us to accept such a precondition,” Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said late Tuesday after a cabinet meeting.
Turkey, which has NATO’s second-largest military, denies it is walking away from the alliance, but its row with the U.S. over its purchase of the Russian S-400s is escalating. Congress is pushing for sanctions against Ankara over the objection of President Donald Trump, who says such a move could driveTurkey closer to Moscow.
“An irrational anti-Turkish sentiment has prevailed in the Congress and it is not good for Turkish-American relations,” Kalin said. “They should know that such language of threat would push Turkey exactly toward places that they don’t want it turn to.”
Turkey plans to acquire a second S-400 battery and pursue a joint-development agreement with Moscow in order to be able to produce its own sophisticated ballistic missiles.