17:36 GMT24 July 2021
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    Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed that Ankara had already finalised the S-400 deal and would buy the missile systems from Russia "without any question". The US, in turn, reportedly offered to provide Turkey with a powerful air defence capabilities if it stops its purchase of the S-400 systems.

    Turkey should choose between buying the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system or staying a partner in the US's F-35 weapons programme, Republican Senator James Inhofe, the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Bloomberg.

    "For Turkey to remain in the F-35 program, it can't move ahead with procurement", Inhofe pointed out.

    He described Turkey as an important NATO ally, which he warned should act in accordance with this status.

    READ MORE: US Promises Air Defence 'Meeting Turkey's Needs' If it Drops S-400 — Reports

    "The bottom line is: Turkey must make a decision between Russia and the West. If it moves ahead with buying the S-400 from Russia, there will be consequences," Inhofe said.

    His comments came after a Pentagon report, which was mandated by Congress, which cautioned that the US administration will "reassess Turkey's continued participation as one of the eight partner nations" in the F-35 programme if Ankara purchases the S-400.

    In this vein, Bloomberg also quoted US military expert Steve Zaloga as saying that the US is concerned over Turkey's plans to buy S-400 systems because a number of Russian specialists will be "deployed to the client's country for training and upkeep".

    READ MORE: Turkey Will Not Ask for Permission on S-400 Deal With Russia — Erdogan

    Zaloga also suggested that Ankara may "allow Russian specialists to test out the S-400 radars/sensors against a Turkish F-35 with the ultimate aim of undermining the F-35's counter-radar detection features".

    On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara decided to buy Russian S-400 systems because Moscow offered "the best deal" when Ankara needed such weapons.

    "S-400 is a done deal. We have already finalised this deal and we will buy S-400s from Russia without any question. In the last 10 years we tried to buy [air defence systems] from our American friends, I mean the Patriots, but it didn't work," Cavusoglu emphasized.

    READ MORE: If US Doesn't Plan on Attacking Turkey, It Shouldn't Fear S-400 Deal – Analyst

    His remarks came after Turkey's Anadolu news agency cited a high-ranking source in Washington as saying that the US continues to consider the S-400 air defence system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Ankara.

    Earlier, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar stated that the deployment of the S-400 systems to Turkey will start in October 2019. At the same time, he added that the US F-35 fighter jet program is to be continued as planned, with the next jets to be delivered in March of next year.

    Last December, Ankara signed a loan agreement with Moscow envisaging deliveries of the Russian-made S-400 air defence systems to Turkey. CEO Sergey Chemezov of Russia's state-owned defence conglomerate Rostec said at the time that the contract envisaged the delivery of four S-400 battalion-size sets worth $2.5 billion, with 55 percent of the contract sum being covered by Russian loans.


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    consequences, ally, missile systems, deal, F-35, S-400, NATO, US, Turkey, Russia
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