Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan disclosed he will discuss buying US-made Patriot missiles with President Donald Trump this month despite ongoing tension with Washington triggered by Ankara’s move to purchase Russian S-400 Air Defence system.
In an interview with Reuters news agency on Friday, Erdogan said he discussed buying the surface-to-air Patriot missiles in a phone call with President Trump two weeks ago and would seek to further continue with the deal upon meeting his US counterpart at the UN General Assembly convention, which is planned next week.
“I said no matter what package of S-400s we get, we can buy from you a certain amount of Patriots,” Erdogan said.
“But I said we have to see conditions that at least match up to the S-400s,” he said, mentioning the possibility of joint production and favourable sales agreement.
The Turkish leader’s statement comes after Ankara’s purchase of the Russian Air Defense system in July which exacerbated Washington-Ankara relations and increased the possibility of US sanctions being imposed on its close NATO ally.
Washington has warned Turkey before the S-400 deal that it will face sanctions over the purchase and removed the country from its F-35 stealth fighter program.
According to US defense officials, the Russian military could use an S-400 deployed in Turkey to collect sensitive data about the F-35 stealth aircraft, which is supposed to become the backbone of future aerial operations by Nato member states.
The conflict also lies an economic and global issue between the U.S. and Russia, as both are the World’s biggest arms exporters and the only rivals of each other in this sector. On other hands, as Turkey signed the deal with Russia for S-400, U.S. and NATO allies failed to provide an equally capable alternative to made Ankara refrain from buying Russian AD system.