Turkey still in talks to buy US Patriot missiles

Turkish foreign undersecretary also set to visit Washington, perhaps next week, as part of bilateral working groups.

    Turkey has said that it is continuing talks with the US over buying Patriot missile systems, while trying to iron out a number of issues between the two NATO allies.

    “I can say that our discussions with the US regarding Patriot missile system are continuing,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy told a news conference in the capital Ankara, while discussing NATO-integrated defence systems.

    Meanwhile, Russia announced earlier in March that it will begin delivery of its S-400 air defence system to Turkey in early 2020.

    NATO integration

    Underlining that Turkey’s efforts to establish a NATO-integrated defence system are continuing, Aksoy said: “Thus, our consortium with France and Italy over Eurosam [air defence systems] is being carried out in this framework” in addition to talks with the US over Patriots.

    In January Turkey’s Defense Industries Undersecretariat and Franco-Italian manufacturer Eurosam signed an anti-missile defence system agreement.

    In November, Turkey announced that it was buying S-400 air defence missiles from Russia, prompting concerns from the chairman of NATO’s military committee.

    Differences

    Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Umit Yalcin is set to visit Washington soon, “possibly next week”, as part of working groups established between Turkey and the US, added Aksoy.

    Turkey and the US have been trying to iron out a number of issues, principally concerning the YPG militia in Syria, a group the US has worked with, calling it a “reliable ally” in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

    On Yalcin’s visit, Aksoy said: “Assessment of results from the working group will be done, and a joint understanding is projected.”


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