UPDATED 9:54 AM PT — Wednesday, March 6, 2019
The State Department is issuing another stern warning to Turkey over the purchase of a Russian-made missile defense system.
On Tuesday, a department spokesperson threatened Turkey with sanctions and possible removal from the F-35 program. Congress has already ordered the delay of a scheduled shipment of 100 fighter jets to Turkey in anticipation of the country going through with the purchase.
Security experts are concerned because the Russian defense system is not compatible with NATO, and could be used by Moscow to gain sensitive information about the F-35.
Still, the U.S. is holding out hope Turkey will instead take up its offer to buy the patriot system.
“We’ve long made it clear, we would like to work collaboratively on air and missile defense with Turkey, and we have offered opportunities for Turkey to consider Patriot among other systems over the years,” stated deputy spokesman Robert Palladino.
The State Department has already authorized a $3.5 billions sale of the Patriot missile system to Turkey, but officials say Ankara will not receive it unless they ditch their deal with Russia.