Turkish Defence Minister Says US Letter on S-400 Deal Contradicts Spirit of Alliance

© AFP 2022 / Alexander NEMENOV Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile launching system is displayed at the exposition field in Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow on August 22, 2017 during the first day of the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2017
Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile launching system is displayed at the exposition field in Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow on August 22, 2017 during the first day of the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2017 - Sputnik International
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ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that US threats to remove his country from the F-35 pilot training program over Ankara’s plans to buy the Russian S-400 missile systems were not in the spirit of the alliance.

"The language in Shanahan’s letter contradicts the spirit of our alliance. We are preparing a fitting response", Akar was cited as saying by a Turkish news channel, NTV.

US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan sent a letter to Akar last week, seen by the Foreign Policy magazine, in which he said Turkish trainees would have to leave the United States by July 31.

READ MORE: US-Turkey Fallout Over F-35, S-400 Buys Was Years in the Making

Late last month, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger said that the delivery of S-400s to Turkey would be "devastating, not only to the F-35 programme," but for "Turkish interoperability with NATO."

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According to Wheelbarger, it would be "inconceivable to imagine Russia not taking advantage" of opportunities to collect information on US and NATO systems, including the F-35.

Russia and Turkey penned a $2.5 billion contract on the delivery of four battalion sets-worth of S-400s to Ankara in late 2017. Washington has issued a counteroffer, offering Turkey a $3.5 billion contract for a contingent of Patriot PAC-3s. Turkish officials have indicated that negotiations on the Patriot proposal are continuing, but have stressed that Ankara would not trade its S-400s for the US-made systems.

READ MORE: Turkey Slams 'Unacceptable' US Bill Demanding Sanctions Over Purchase of Russia's S-400s

The first S-400s are expected to reach Turkish soil in July, with Turkey set to become just the fourth country after Russia, Belarus and China to possess the defensive platform. The S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defence platform in Russia's arsenal.

 

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