Turkey-US ties are under serious strain over Ankara´s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system, which is due for delivery in the coming days.
On Thursday, President Tayyip Erdogan said, it would be “robbery” for the United States to deny Turkey the F-35 fighter jets it has bought, according to comments published.
In response, Washington has threatened to cancel the order for 116 F-35 Turkish fighter jets and kick it off the training and production program, as well as broader economic sanctions.
Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying by Hurriyet daily,
“If you seek a customer, and a customer comes forward and makes payments like clockwork, how can you not give that customer their goods? This would be robbery,”
Erdogan further said Turkey had already paid $1.4 billion, while its defence industry has ploughed significant sums into the warplanes´ production.
US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan wrote a letter to Ankara last month, warning that Turkish pilots would be expelled from the United States if the S-400 deal was not canceled on July 31. On the sidelines of Japan’s G20 summit on Saturday, Erdogan said he was assured that there would be no sanctions.
Trump blamed Barack Obama, the previous administration of for failing to finalise a deal for Turkey to buy the American Patriot system instead of the S-400.
Russia offered a better deal including joint production, Turkey has previously said
Trump´s attitude was “praiseworthy” Erdogan said.
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