US, Turkey clash over Turkish plan to buy Russian S-400 missiles
15 January 2019
Amid intensifying negotiations between Turkey and the United States over Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria and Turkey’s threats to invade the country, a US technical team is visiting Turkey today and tomorrow. The US team is expected to stress that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems is unacceptable to Washington.
Previously, Washington had indicated that it could respond to a Turkish agreement with Russia to buy S-400 surface-to-air missile systems by blocking Turkey from buying F-35 warplanes, and would bring Turkey’s relations with the United States and the NATO alliance to a breaking point. The S-400 purchase would have vast military ramifications. By obtaining its first long-range air and anti-missile defence system from Russia, Turkey could conceivably close its skies to NATO fighters if necessary.
On December 18, the day before US President Donald Trump tweeted his announcement of the withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria, the State Department informed the US Congress of a proposed $3.5 billion deal to sell Turkey Patriot anti-ballistic missile systems made by Raytheon.
Washington has long urged Turkey to cancel its plans to purchase the Russian-made S-400 anti-ballistic missile system, but Turkey has replied that it would buy Patriot systems from Washington, but not on the condition of cancelling the purchase of S-400 system from Russia.
On January 10, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu declared that Turkey would never accept US pressure to drop its purchase of S-400s from Russia to deploy Patriots. “The U.S. made its first offer for the Patriots. But we are not in a position to change our deal with Russia on the S-400s. We…