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US Secretary of State Blinken Urges Turkey to Ditch Russian S-400s

© AP Photo / Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Russian S-400 long-range air defense missile systems
 Russian S-400 long-range air defense missile systems  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.03.2021
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Ankara's acquisition of the Russian air-defence system has been a stumbling block in US-Turkish relations. In December, Washington punished the Turkish defence sector with sanctions for buying the package.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on Turkey to abandon the Russian S-400 air defence systems, the State Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

Following talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, Blinken also voiced concern over Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. The two top diplomats also discussed issues relating to Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey's relations with Greece and other matters.

S-400 missile defence systems at the repetition of the Victory Day Parade, May 2019. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.03.2021
US Media Reveals What Makes Russia’s S-400 ‘So Deadly’

Cavusoglu, for his part, told Blinken that the S-400 purchase from Russia was a "done deal".

The United States has been vociferous in criticising Turkey's decision to buy the Russian systems, saying they are incompatible with NATO security standards and endanger US military technology, particularly when it comes to the operation of US-made F-35 jets.

Washington subsequently suspended Turkey's participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter partnership.

In December, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) because of the acquisition of Russian S-400 air defence systems. The punitive measures targeted four affiliates of the Turkish Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), including its head, Ismail Demir.

In 2017, Ankara signed an agreement with Moscow preferring Russia's defence systems to the US Patriot system after the US and Turkey failed to reach a consensus over technology transfers.  In 2019, Turkey received several S-400 battalions worth $2.5 billion.

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