On Friday, a Turkish official denied a German daily report which claimed the missile deal between Turkey and Russia would no longer take place.
Fahrettin Altun, Communications Director of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, denied the allegation of daily Bild that reported on Friday that Turkey’s deal with the Russians to acquire the S-400 missile defense system seems to be off in fear of a US sanction.
“There won’t be an S-400 delivery in July, as announced, because the purchase will lead to sanctions from Washington, and with the current crisis with the lira, this would be an economic downfall for Turkey,” the report reads, citing a high-ranking Turkish diplomatic source from Ankara.
The Turkish denial came from Altun, tweeting, “Your sources are mistaken. Take it from me: The S-400 procurement is a done deal.”
Bild’s report came amid ongoing friction between the two NATO allies, which have been at odds with each other regarding Ankara’s demands that the US extradite Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, differences over Middle East policy and the war in Syria, and sanctions on Iran.
Since the protracted efforts to purchase US air defense systems failed in 2017, Turkey decided to acquire the Russian S-400 system.
The US maintains its position to remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program and to trigger congressional sanctions on the country if Turkey persists with purchasing the S-400 system, arguing it poses risks to NATO’s systems.
In contradiction to this, Turkey’s Erdogan says the US disapproval has “nothing to do with NATO and the F-35, nor the security of the US.”
On Friday, the US repeated its argument that the F-35 and the S-400 were incompatible.
“The US continues to speak with Turkey on a routine basis,” Ellen Lord, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment told reporters at the Pentagon.
In early April, the US halted the shipment of F-35 parts. Lord said they had been working for some time to find alternate sources of supply for the part of the F-35 supply chain currently met by Turkey.
“We see a potential slowing down of some deliveries over the next two years, with some potential cost impacts,” Lord said.
Fourteen countries are participating in the F-35 program. Among them, Turkey is the only NATO ally to rely on Russian technology and therefore faces possible expulsion from the program.