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3 Apr, 2019 15:52

Russian S-400 purchase a ‘done deal,’ despite US freeze on F-35 deliveries – Turkish FM

Russian S-400 purchase a ‘done deal,’ despite US freeze on F-35 deliveries – Turkish FM

Turkey’s top diplomat has stood firm on Ankara’s commitment to buy the S-400 air defense system from Russia, just days after the US froze deliveries of F-35 fighters to Ankara as part of its pressure to scupper the deal.

Speaking at a panel discussion organized by the Atlantic Council in Washington, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the S-400 purchase was “a done deal” – confirming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that the transaction would go ahead. He then blamed Washington for preventing the purchase of the US’ Patriot system for a decade, while insisting that Russia’s S-400 would not be a security issue.

Also on rt.com US suspends F-35 deliveries to Turkey over Russian S-400s purchase – Pentagon

“[S-400s] will not be integrated into the NATO system,” Cavusoglu said, before proposing the creation of a technical group that would ensure that the air-defense system “will not be a threat” to either the F-35 or other NATO systems.

The comments come after NATO-member Turkey failed to adhere to a deadline set down by Washington to cancel the S-400 deal. By way of admonishment, the Pentagon said on Monday that it had “suspended deliveries and activities associated” with Turkey’s F-35 program until “they forgo delivery of the S-400.”

“Should Turkey procure the S-400, their continued participation in the F-35 program is at risk,” the statement warned.

Despite the increased pressure from the US, Russia’s Deputy PM Yuri Borisov expressed confidence in Turkey staying true to their contractual obligations. “The rest is rumors. We do not have any concerns yet,” he said.

Also on rt.com US top brass warn against punishing unbending India for buying Russia’s S-400 missiles

The US has harangued Turkey for months into dropping its purchase of the missile-defense system, arguing it would constitute a threat to its high-tech warplanes and affect NATO’s interoperability. Separately, it has also pressured India into dropping negotiations over its purchase of S-400s. However, like in Ankara, calls have gone unheeded in New Delhi, which has been undeterred by threats of sanctions.

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