Ankara Commits to S-400, Turkish Official Says US Patriot Offer Not Good Enough
Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed dissatisfaction over Washington's unwillingness to implement Ankara's two basic conditions for acquiring Patriot interceptors related to providing a loan and joint production.
Speaking to the Turkish broadcaster NTV, Ismail Demir, chairman of Turkey's Defence Industry Directorate, said that it is impossible for Ankara to accept Washington's offer to sell its NATO partner US Patriot missile systems as it currently stands.
"We submitted a request to the US on buying the Patriot air defence systems, and we received an answer a year and a half later. Some details of this proposal don't suit us at all", Demir noted.
He added that the "negotiations [on the Patriot deal] continue because there are issues that have yet to be clarified".
The statement comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that "although they [the United States] are positive for early delivery [of the Patriot systems], they can't promise to provide [the systems-related] loan and joint production".
Last week, US Permanent Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison urged Turkey not to continue the implementation of its agreement to buy Russian S-400 missile systems, something that she said would not allow Washington "to deliver the [Patriot] air defences to Turkey which we could install there".
The remarks followed the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News citing unnamed senior US officials as saying that Washington will halt the process of selling US Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to Turkey if it proceeds with the purchase of the S-400s.
In January, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu pointed out that Ankara is ready to consider a US proposal on deliveries of Patriot interceptors, but that it refuses to abandon the S-400 deal with Russia as a potential precondition for the Ankara-Washington agreement.
The US State Department approved a possible $3.5 billion sale of Patriot systems to Turkey in December 2018, in a move that was followed by a US delegation making an official offer to Ankara in early January detailing the sale of the Patriots.
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