If the U.S. refuses to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey, it could buy more Russian S-400 missiles or other air defense systems, according to Turkey’s foreign minister.
Speaking to news channel NTV on Wednesday, Mevlut Cavusoglu hit back at U.S. criticisms of the S-400 purchase, saying that some NATO countries already have earlier generation S-300 missiles but this does not conflict with their NATO membership.
“If the U.S. refuses to sell us Patriots, tomorrow we could buy a second S-400, or another air defense system,” he said.
Rebuffing U.S. threats to cancel a deal for F-35 jets if the S-400s are delivered, Cavusoglu said in the absence of F-35s, Turkey could buy fighters jets from another source until it is able to produce its own.
Washington has balked at Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system, and last week suspended delivery of parts and services for the F-35s.
U.S. officials have suggested Turkey buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems and would expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey has responded that it was the U.S. refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russia offered it a better deal, including technology transfers.