US Concerned with Turkey’s Purchase of Russian Defense System

US Concerned with Turkey’s Purchase of Russian Defense System

Tuesday, 28 August, 2018 - 19:30
US Defense Secretary James Mattis. (Getty Images)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The United States expressed its concern on Tuesday with Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defense system that cannot be integrated into NATO.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis said that Washington has already warned Turkey that it would be subject to sanctions and its purchase of Lockheed Martin fighter jets would be jeopardized if Ankara does not drop plans to purchase the missile defense system.

"Clearly, Turkey bringing a Russian anti-aircraft, anti-missile system into a NATO country -- we cannot integrate that into NATO. Yes, it does concern us and we do not recommend that," Mattis told reporters.

Tensions between Washington and Ankara soared in recent weeks after the US slapped sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports over the continued detention in Turkey of American pastor Andrew Brunson. Turkey retaliated by increasing tariffs on certain US imports.

The pastor is accused of espionage and terror-related charges and faces a maximum 35 years in prison if convicted.

The diplomatic and trade crisis has left the Turkish lira in shambles. On Monday, it was down some 3.5 percent, trading at around 6.22 against the dollar.

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