The US’s last attempt to stop Turkey from buying Russian S-400 anti-air missile systems was unsuccessful because the US’s offer to sell Ankara the US-made Patriot systems instead did not include access to the technologies for producing such systems or a discount in price, the pro-government Turkish news outlet Yeni Şafak wrote on Saturday, January 5.
According to the article, the US’s position was expressed at a meeting between the American delegation and members of Turkey’s Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry. During negotiations with the Turkish government on Thursday, January 3, the official US representatives continued to insist that Turkey call off the S-400 deal in favor of US-made Patriot systems.
On December 19, the US State Department approved the decision to sell Turkey Patriot systems for $3.5 billion. “The State Department has approved the decision to supply Turkey with 80 MIM-104E interceptor missiles and 60 PAC-3 missiles for Patriot systems,” the US Defense Security cooperation Agency reported. The US also gave the go ahead for Turkey to buy four AN/MQP-65 radars and other equipment.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoǧlu told reporters in his end-of-year address that Ankara sent its last letter to Washington asking for Patriot systems nearly one and a half years ago, and that the State Department’s decision was based on this proposal. The Turkish diplomat emphasized, however, that the acquisition of the US-made Patriot systems would not affect the deal with Russia concerning the S-400 Triumphs.
Turkey has several criteria for the Patriot deal, one of them being an acceptable price. However, of prime importance for Ankara is that the technology is handed over, Turkish state news outlets note.
News came out in November 2016 that Russia and Turkey were negotiating the sale of S-400 systems. In September 2017, Russia confirmed that the contract had been signed.
In the middle of June 2018, an informed source told TASS that Russia’s defense industry companies had been instructed to finish producing the long-range anti-air systems for Turkey by May 2019.
At the start of September 2018, Dmitry Shugaev, director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, announced that the S-400s will be shipped to Turkey in the middle of 2019.
According to various media reports, Turkey has already begun to build platforms for the S-400 Triumph systems, despite the US’s objections to the deal.
Turkey’s plans to buy S-400s from Russia have been met with extreme skepticism by NATO and the US administration. Their primary argument is that the Russian systems are not compatible with the equivalent systems already in the armaments of Turkey and other NATO states.