US warns Turkey against negative consequences of S-400 delivery

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The US State Department on Wednesday warned that Turkey would face sanctions if it completes the delivery of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, the Xinhua news website reported.

“… we’re willing to engage with the Turkish government but our position remains the same that Turkey will face very real and very negative consequences if it completes the delivery of the S-400,” State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said at a press briefing.

The consequences include the suspension of procurement and industrial participation in the F-35 fighter jet program and potential sanctions arising from the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), she noted.

“These are very serious, these are very real, and I think our position remains quite consistent on that,” she added.

US President Donald Trump on the same day spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the phone about the S-400 issue, the White House said in an earlier statement.

The Turkish Presidency’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, said on Twitter that during the phone call Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s offer to set up a joint working group to address US concerns about Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system.

The White House statement, however, made no mention of Erdoğan’s working group proposal.

Washington and Ankara have been sparring for months over the latter’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400s.

The United States has argued that Russian missiles on Turkish territory could gain valuable intelligence on the technical systems of the stealth F-35 jets.

Turkey has insisted that it is not going to give up its $2.5 billion contract with Russia.

CNBC reported last week that Washington had given Ankara just over two weeks to abandon its S-400 deal with Russia or risk severe penalties and lose the possibility of buying F-35s.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Monday dismissed reports that the United States had issued an ultimatum, adding the S-400s would arrive in following months.

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