The Turkish Foreign Minister has stated that Ankara is ready to consider buying the Patriot missile defense systems from the United States in the future but does not agree to the precondition by Washington to abandon buying S-400 from Russia.
"Turkey may buy Patriot systems in the future. But it will be impossible if abandoning S-400 will be one of the conditions for the purchase," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted by Sputnik as saying in an interview with NTV broadcaster Thursday.
Last month, the US State Department issued a notice of sale of Patriot Missile System to Turkey worth $3.5 billion which was followed by the visit of a US delegation to Ankara to discuss the proposed sale further.
It now appears that the US delegation’s main aim was to block the S-400 sale from Russia in exchange for approving sale of the Patriot systems, according to Turkish media reports.
Turkey’s Yeni Safak newspaper reported Saturday that Washington’s effort to block Turkey from acquiring Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems fell short as the US’s latest Patriot missiles offer failed to include neither a technology sharing clause as demanded by Ankara nor a discount on the proposed $3.5 billion deal.
Before making a final decision on the proposed offer, Ankara had demanded any deal include a discount and a technology sharing clause which apparently seems to have been vetoed by Washington which has not shared missile defence systems technology with even its closest allies.
The report in Yeni Safak newspaper, considered well-connected with the Turkish government also indicates that Ankara could be open to canceling the S-400 deal if a good enough offer came regarding the Patriot. This goes against claims of Turkey’s top leaders, including President Erdogan that the S-400 deal was ‘done and wrapped up’ and that there was no going back on it.
The report also said that Ankara’s S-400 deal with Russia cost significantly less than the offer Washington put forward, coming at only a third of the price tag. The US had previously attempted to pressure Turkey by blocking the delivery of jointly-developed F-35 jets to Ankara, a precondition that was later dropped by Washington.