US asked Türkiye for access to Russian air defense system – FM
The US approached Türkiye in the hope that the country would grant Washington access to its Russian-made S-400 air defense systems or hand them over to Ukraine, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed on Sunday. Ankara refused the request on the grounds that doing so would undermine its sovereignty and independence, he added.
In an interview with the newspaper Habertürk on Sunday, Cavusoglu recounted how the US had “made offers that directly concern our sovereignty, such as giving us control of [S-400], and giving it to somewhere else.”
The minister clarified that Washington had suggested providing the air-defense systems to Ukraine, but that Ankara said no.
Türkiye received the first batch of S-400s from Russia in 2019.
Commenting on the prospects of Ankara’s return to Washington’s F-35 fighter jet program, Cavusoglu said that his country is no longer interested because it is now working on its own military aircraft.
Last March, several Western media outlets reported that the US had offered Türkiye a “return to the F-35 program” in exchange for “giving up the S-400 system and sending it to Kiev.”
Commenting on the claims, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that Türkiye’s use of the S-400s was a “done deal for us.”
“They are our property serving our defense, so it’s over,” he stressed at the time.
Erdogan’s spokesman, Fahrettin Altun, meanwhile, pointed out that “what the West must do is deliver the F-35 fighter jets and Patriot batteries to Türkiye without preconditions.”
Back in 2020, Washington imposed sanctions on the Turkish defense industry and kicked the country out of its F-35 fighter jet program over Ankara’s decision to buy the Russian military hardware.
The US refused to deliver the already ordered aircraft to its fellow NATO member, claiming that Türkiye’s purchase of the Russian system “would endanger the security of US military technology.”