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Turkey’s government on Friday rejected the US complaint over its missile deal with Russia.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan infuriated Turkey’s NATO allies, particularly the US, by purchasing the Russian S-400 missile defence system.
US officials have warned Turkey could face possible sanctions and a block on its participation in the US-made F-35 fighter jet programme because of the Russian deal.
“We have signed a deal with Russia, and this deal is valid. Now we are discussing the delivery process,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu parried in a press conference.
“We have an agreement with Russia and we are bound by it,” he added and pressure from other countries was against international law.
Cavusoglu said Turkey had also met its obligations as a partner in the F-35 jet made by US Company Lockheed Martin.
“Turkey is also a partner in the F-35 project. Some parts are being made in here in Turkey. Turkey has fulfilled its responsibilities in this regard,” the minister said.
In the latest sign of US pressure, four senators on Thursday introduced a bill that would block delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey until Ankara gives up the Russian missiles.
“It’s concerning that Turkey would seek close defence cooperation with Russia, whose authoritarian ruler seeks to undermine NATO and US interests at every turn.”
Turkey plans to buy 100 F-35s and some Turkish pilots already started training with counterparts in the US.
US officials expressed worry about technology from the S-400s allowing Moscow to collect data on NATO aircraft.
US officials warned about fallout from the missile deal for the F-35 jet programme and are pressuring Turkey to buy US-made Patriot missile defences instead.
Russia remains silently contemptuous.