UPDATED 11:15 AM PT — Friday, April 5, 2019
Turkey’s president said his country is going through with the purchase of a Russian weapons system despite push back from NATO. Tayyip Erdogan announced deliveries for the Russian S-400 missile defense system will begin in July despite repeated warnings from the U.S. and NATO leaders to abandon the deal.
Erdogan said Turkey had offered to buy the U.S.-made ‘Patriot’ system, but had gotten a better offer from Russia. On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said despite indications there was room for negotiation, the purchase was a “done deal.”
“From the beginning this process has been very transparent with everybody, not only with our ally United States, but everybody,” stated the Turkish official. “Therefore, we have told them — I don’t know how many months ago, a year ago — that it’s a done deal.”
The U.S. and other NATO allies have warned the Russian system can’t work with U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets and could make the jets vulnerable to Russian attacks.
On Tuesday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had said he was confident Turkey would backpedal on the purchase after the Pentagon blocked Turkey from receiving the jets on Monday.