Turkey said it would not turn back from acquiring the Russian S-400 missile defense system despite US sanctions over the deal.
Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discussed the US objections to the S-400 purchase on Thursday. “The United States has so far said it will not engage in any negotiations over this issue,” he said. “Turkey will not turn back from the Russian S-400 issue.”
After President Biden was elected in November, Turkey said it wants better ties with the US and has offered to work with Washington on the S-400 issue and has offered compromises. But the US stance remains that as long as Turkey has the Russian missile system, sanctions will stay in place.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday that Ankara was willing not to deploy the full S-400 system if the US was willing to compromise on something. Chief among Turkey’s gripes with Washington is the US support for Kurdish forces in Syria, but that is an issue the new administration seems unlikely to compromise. Biden’s State Department has already reaffirmed support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
The Trump administration hit Turkey with sanctions over the S-400 in December. The sanctions targeted Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries, a government body that manages the procurement and development of military equipment. Before that, in 2019, the US suspended Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet training program.