The United States is reportedly offering to sell Raytheon-built Patriot missile defense system to Turkey as an alternative to block potential sale of Russian-built S-400s agreed upon by Ankara.
U.S. Ambassador Kaidanow, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, told reporters that a delegation of US government officials at the on-going Farnborough Airshow were holding meetings with allies in the hopes of bolstering US defense trade, Reuters reports Monday.
She said the US State Department was in talks with Turkey and "trying to give the Turks an understanding of what we can do with respect to Patriot".
On December 2, 2017 Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement on the sale of the S-400s to Ankara. Reacting to the deal, the US threatened with anti-Turkey sanctions, as it believes that the Russia-made weapon is incompatible with NATO’s defenses.
"Ultimately we are concerned that by purchasing these systems from the Russians it will be supportive of some of the least good behavior that we have seen from them (Russia) in various places including Europe but also elsewhere," Kaidanow she said further.
Kaidanow added that Washington wanted to ensure that systems acquired by US allies "remain supportive of the strategic relationship between us and our allies, in the case of Turkey that is Patriots".
Ankara’s ties with its Western allies in NATO have been strained over a range of issues. Washington and NATO officials strive to prevent the sophisticated Russian-built anti-aircraft weapon system from collecting information about the US-made all-weather stealth multirole warplanes, technically known as the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters, just as they are gaining a foothold in Europe.
Before gravitating towards Russia, the Turkish military reportedly walked out of a $3.4-billion contract for a similar Chinese system. The withdrawal took place under purported pressure from Washington.