Published: Fri, May 24, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Turkey sees improvement in S-400, F-35 talks with US

Turkey sees improvement in S-400, F-35 talks with US

"The latest US proposal dated March 28 had amendments on the price, co-production, upgrade and technology transfer, even though they don't exactly meet our demands", Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.

Hulusi Akar also told a group of reporters late Tuesday that Turkey was "making preparations" and "considering all options" against possible USA sanctions on Turkey over the purchase.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month that the purchase of S-400s fell under Turkey's "sovereign rights".

Turkey is one of the participants in the US F-35 jet program.

"We are doing whatever normal bilateral agreements mandate".

Turkey has already sent personnel to Russian Federation for training, Akar said, and the system could be delivered as early as June or July. We also produced the parts ordered from us on time.

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If Turkey goes through with the Russian deal, Lockheed Martin would have to rework its supply chain on components for the F-35 fighter jet, while also making changes to its production schedule.

"In our talks with the United States, we see a general easing and rapprochement on issues including the east of the Euphrates, F-35s, and Patriots", he added.

Turkey has sent the first contingent of soldiers to Moscow to begin training on the Russian-built S-400 anti-aircraft system, as Ankara forges ahead with its planned purchase of the weapon despite American anger. A CNBC report on Tuesday said Washington had given Turkey just over two weeks to scrap the Russian deal and buy Patriots or face removal from the F-35 programme and us sanctions. Russia offers no reliable plane with comparable capabilities and integrating Russian aircraft into Turkey's defenses would be far more hard and expensive than adding Russian missiles to the mix.

Russian Federation and Turkey signed a $2.5 billion loan agreement for the shipment of a total of four batteries of S-400 systems in December 2017.

"The idea that we always buy, you always produce, is finished", he told reporters in Ankara.

The minister also said conceptual work on the SAMP-T defence systems with the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium were expected to be completed in October.

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