Turkey to Continue Buying S-400 Missile Defense System After U.S. Halts F-35 Shipments

The disagreement between Turkey and the U.S. over the F-35 is the latest of a series of diplomatic disputes between Washington and Ankara

FILE Photo: A Russia's S-400 air defense missile systems at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia.
AFP

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Turkey was continuing to make payments under its deal with Russia to buy S-400 missile defence systems and the United States had not presented the same terms when it offered to sell Patriot missiles. 

"The S-400 holds an important place in our talks. The United States' arguments are very wrong. We finished the S-400 process and our payments continue," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul when asked about his planned talks in Moscow next week. 

>>Erdogan’s next front: The White House | Analysis 

In February U.S. officials said that if Turkey proceeds with the S-400 purchase, Washington will withdraw its offer to sell a $3.5 billion Raytheon Co Patriot missile package.

On Monday, the U.S. halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete U.S. step to block delivery of the jet to the NATO ally in light of Ankara's planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

In recent days, U.S. officials told their Turkish counterparts they will not receive further shipments of F-35 related equipment needed to prepare for the arrival of the stealthy jet, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. The aircraft is built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the next shipment of training equipment, and all subsequent shipments of F-35 related material, have been canceled.

The disagreement over the F-35 is the latest of a series of diplomatic disputes between the United States and Turkey including Turkish demands that the United States extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, differences over Middle East policy and the war in Syria, and sanctions on Iran.