Turkey sees an improvement in talks with the United States over the purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems and US F-35 fighter jets but was prepared for sanctions under Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
"In our talks with the United States, we see a general easing and rapprochement on issues including the east of the Euphrates, F-35s and Patriots," Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.
Speaking to reporters late yesterday, Akar said that Turkey was fulfilling its responsibilities in the F-35 project. In addition, Ankara and Washington were working on price, technology transfer, joint production issues on the possible purchase of the US Patriot system.
"There is no clause anywhere in the F-35 agreement saying one will be excluded from the partnership for buying S-400s," he said. "Turkey has paid $1.2 billion. We also produced the parts ordered from us on time. What more can we do as a partner?"
"Turkey is also making preparations for the potential implementation of CAATSA sanctions," he said in comments quoted in the Turkish media. The US has given Turkey time till the beginning of next month to back out from the S-400 deal or face sanctions.
The minister also said conceptual work on the SAMP-T defense systems with the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium were expected to be completed in October. He said EUROSAM had offered to install a SAMP-T battery in Turkey and that scouting work would be carried out.