Turkey will not turn back from a major arms deal with Russia despite the US suspension of Ankara from the F-35 fighter-jet program, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday.
“The S-400 deal is a done deal and we will not step back from this,” he told a think-tank forum in Washington, where he is taking part in 70th anniversary celebrations of NATO.
The United States said Monday that it was halting shipment of F-35 parts of Turkey as well as joint manufacturing work due to Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia.
Cavusoglu said Turkey turned to Russia as it could not buy US Patriot missiles and quoted President Donald Trump as saying in an unspecified phone call that his predecessor Barack Obama had made a “mistake” not to sell the system to Ankara.
However, the Trump administration has since made clear that it is ready to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey — if it drops the S-400 system.
The Turkish foreign minister said the S-400 deal did not signal a warming toward Russia.