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26 Jun, 2019 16:49

US threatens Turkey with ‘economic ramifications’ over Russia missile defense deal

US threatens Turkey with ‘economic ramifications’ over Russia missile defense deal

The acting US defense secretary warned his Turkish counterpart that the country’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system will trigger punitive sanctions from Washington.

Newly appointed acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper conveyed the ultimatum on Wednesday during a meeting with Turkish defense officials in Brussels. The US will not allow Turkey to purchase both the F-35 fighter jet and the Russian missile system, he stressed.

US threatens Turkey with ‘economic ramifications’ over Russia missile defense deal

“The secretary was very firm, once again, that Turkey will not have both the S-400 and the F-35,” a senior US defense official familiar with the discussions told Reuters. “And if they accept the S-400 they should accept ramifications not only to the F-35 program but also to their economic situation.”

Also on rt.com ‘Not part of the deal’: Turks say US can’t exclude them from F-35 program

Washington has made a number of threats over Ankara’s interest in obtaining the S-400, arguing that the Russian-made system will “compromise” NATO defense infrastructure, and has vowed to expel Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet project should it go through with the purchase. In early June, the US canceled training for Turkish pilots learning to fly the F-35 at US air bases, and US lawmakers more recently floated the idea of sanctioning Turkey’s economy in retaliation.

Ankara, undeterred by the threats, argues that the US has no right to remove Turkey from the F-35 program under existing agreements, and threatened to take “reciprocal steps” to any sanctions.

“No matter what sanctions decision, no matter which statement comes from the US, we have already bought the S-400,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters earlier this week, adding the only thing left to decide is when deliveries will begin.

Also on rt.com Done deal: Turkey says it ‘already bought’ Russian S-400 & US sanctions won’t change that

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