“As recently as last Thursday, a senior State Department official told reporters Turkey needed to ‘get rid of’ the system,” reports the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat.
By World Israel News Staff and AP
Turkish media say Ankara is poised to begin testing Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, despite threats of sanctions from the United States.
The Milliyet newspaper, which has close links to the government, said Monday that the military is planning to test the S-400s that are currently deployed at an airbase in the outskirts of the Ankara.
Turkey took delivery of two Russian S-400 batteries this year, dismissing warnings from the United States that they pose a threat to NATO security. As a result, Washington suspended Turkish participation in the multinational F-35 fighter jet program. Washington has repeatedly said that the Russian system is incompatible with NATO systems and is a threat to the F-35.
The U.S. strongly urged NATO member Turkey to pull back from the deal — reportedly costing more than $2 billion — warning Ankara that it would face economic sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if it went ahead with the purchase.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in September that the Trump administration was considering the imposition of sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the S-400 system.
“As recently as last Thursday, a senior State Department official told reporters Turkey needed to ‘get rid of’ the system,” reports the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat news outlet. “Those comments came after President Tayyip Erdogan met U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House,” it added.
“Trump has told Erdogan that Washington is ready to sell Ankara U.S. Patriot systems if it drops the Russian system,” says Asharq Al-Awsat.