The United States asked Turkey for access to the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems purchased from Russia and offered to transfer them to Ukraine, but Ankara refused, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Haberturk TV channel.
“The US asked for access to the S-400 in order to study them. But for us it was unacceptable, it was contrary to our independent policy. We refused,” the minister said.
“We were even offered to send them to Ukraine, we said it was impossible,” the politician added.
According to Cavusoglu, if Turkey “was accommodating”, it “would not have problems” with Washington.
Earlier, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that there was no threat in Ankara’s acquisition of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system from Moscow. According to him, Turkey turned to Russia after Washington did not sell the Patriot air defense system to it.
“At present, the system is installed and everything is ready for use. This is a defensive system, and no one is threatened by it. And it will not come until Turkey is attacked,” the Minister of Defense said.
He added that the country is considering buying a second batch of S-400s. The minister also indicated that Ankara is still ready to buy Patriot from the United States.
Ankara’s peacekeeping efforts
The representative of the Turkish president, Ibrahim Kalin, said earlier that the country calls for united efforts to start the negotiation process between Russia and Ukraine.
According to him, long-term peace in Ukraine is possible only if a new agreement is reached between Moscow and Western countries, since Russia and the West are in search of a new balance of power.
Erdogan’s representative urged “to bet on peace”, since the continuation of hostilities, in his opinion, “is fraught with a global disaster.” Kalin stressed that Turkey and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are ready to mediate on this issue.
In 2017, Russia and Turkey entered into an agreement for the supply of S-400 systems in the amount of $2.5 billion with an option to purchase another regiment. In October 2019, the Rosoboronexport company announced that it had fulfilled the contract for the supply of these systems. In response to the purchase of weapons, the United States imposed sanctions against Turkey. Ankara has also been excluded from the F-35 fighter program.
In the spring of 2022, Reuters reported that the United States was persuading the Turkish authorities to transfer the S-400 to Ukraine in exchange for lifting sanctions and returning to the F-35 production program. In response, Ankara stated that it would not abandon Russian complexes under US pressure. At the same time, the head of the Turkish defense company Aselsan, Haluk Gorgun, said that Turkey is working on creating its own air defense system.
In April 2023, the US administration approved a $259 million modernization program for Turkish F-16 fighters. If the decision is approved by the US Congress, this will be the first such deal with Turkey in the field of military cooperation in the past few years. However, relations between the two countries remain tense.
The American defense portal Defense One previously suggested that a rapprochement between the US and Turkey is possible only after Erdogan leaves the presidency.
“If Turkish voters elect Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to replace Erdoğan as president in May, Turkey will have a real opportunity to restore serious relations not only with the United States, but with all of its Western partners,” the article states.