Turkey rejects latest US offer to sell Patriot missiles

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PHOTO: National Interest

Turkey has rejected a US proposal to deliver one Patriot missile defense system by the end of 2019, which was conditional on Ankara abandoning a deal with Russia that has strained ties between the NATO allies, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing two senior Turkish officials.

The US administration made its offer before Feb. 15 and then increased the price of the multi-billion dollar system in return for quick delivery, according to the officials, who are familiar with the talks but not authorized to speak to the media.

The proposal did not include a loan agreement or a technology sharing pact, a key Turkish demand, they said.

Turkey said in its response that it cannot accept the US offer, and negotiations came to a standstill, the officials said.

US officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

Having balked for years at selling Turkey the Patriot system, the US State Department notified Congress in December that it had proposed doing just that, a gambit designed to get Ankara to halt an agreement with Russia for a S-400-based system, which could compromise NATO technology.

Turkey expects the first S-400 delivery in July. Russia has promised Turkey joint production and technology transfer as part of the agreement.

Turkey’s determination to buy Russian missiles has fueled demands in the US that planned supplies of F-35 jets be put on hold even though portions of the Lockheed Martin Co. fighter are being built in Turkey.

The US has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey if it receives missiles from Russia.

Turkish-US ties remain rocky after a series of disputes including Washington’s support for a Syrian Kurdish force that Ankara regards as a mortal enemy; Turkey’s demand that the US extradite a preacher it accuses of instigating a failed coup attempt in 2016; and the conviction in the US of a Turkish banker on Iran sanctions violations charges.

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