Turkey may expand its planned purchase of a Russian air defense system if it cannot buy a US Patriot missile defense system, and it will also look for alternatives if it cannot take delivery of F-35 jets, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
He also said Turkey had not received a positive response from Washington over its proposal to form a joint working group to look into Ankara’s planned purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
Meanwhile President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the delivery of the Russian system could be brought forward from July, the Sabah newspaper reported on Wednesday, sticking to a purchase that has put Turkey at odds with NATO ally the United States.
The S-400s are not compatible with NATO systems, and Washington says Turkey’s purchase of them would compromise the security of F-35 fighter jets, which are built by Lockheed Martin Corp. Turkey is involved in F-35 production and plans to purchase 100 of the aircraft.
Erdoğan told reporters on his plane while returning from a trip to Russia this week that he and his foreign minister were constantly being asked about the S-400 purchase and were being pressured to abandon it.
“We answer that ‘this deal is done, everything is settled.’ The delivery of the S-400 missile defense system was to be in July. Maybe it can be brought forward,” Erdoğan said.