There are ‘no Patriots’ US could give Turkey, Erdogan says as its S-400s get prepped for deployment
The US is unlikely to provide any Patriot missiles for its NATO ally, the Turkish President has acknowledged, less than a week after media reports suggested Ankara make another request for the air defense systems.
“As for the Patriot issue, let me say very clearly: currently there are no Patriots that America will give us,” Erdogan told reporters on his return from Azerbaijan. “We made our offer ... but at the moment, they have no such thing in their hands,” he admitted.
The Turkish government has reportedly asked the US to deploy Patriot air defense systems on the country’s southern border, an American official told local media, but “no decision has been made.”
Turkey has long sought the Raytheon-built air defense systems, but to no avail, as many countries inside NATO, including the US itself, weren’t keen on selling such a weapon.
Finally, the Turkish military turned to Russia, signing a hefty deal to procure several units of the newest S-400 missile systems.
The S-400 deal ultimately became a major irritant for the NATO allies. The US disconnected Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet program, citing its incompatibility with the Russian-made system. Washington piled immense pressure on Ankara, demanding that it scrap the deal with Moscow, but, as Turkish officials often reiterated, the purchase was to serve Turkey’s security needs.
In recent years, some NATO members did deploy their Patriot systems on Turkish soil to fend off incoming threats in the region, but these deployments didn’t last long, leaving Turkey in a precarious position.
Meanwhile, preparations for bringing Turkish S-400s into operation are in full swing.
“We have received S-400s, we brought them to Turkey, the installation and training process continues. Our operations will continue as planned,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said last week, adding that activation “will take place in the spring.”Also on rt.com Turkey opted for Russia’s S-400 as NATO allies weren’t selling similar systems – FM Cavusoglu
Like this story? Share it with a friend!