Today, Friday, US First Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman announced that the United States considers Turkey an important partner in NATO, and is committed to building relations with it, despite the differences over the “S-400”.
“Turkey is an important member of NATO, and NATO is a security organization that helps keep Europe and the world safe,” Sherman said in a telephone briefing. According to her, Turkey’s plans to buy Russian weapons are worrying Washington. “We are explaining to Turkey the implications of moving in this direction,” she added. At the same time, Sherman emphasized, the United States aims to continue building relations with Turkey, “despite all its complexities.”
It is noteworthy that an agreement to supply the Russian S-400 missile defense system to Turkey was signed in December 2017, in the capital, Ankara. Under the agreement, Turkey will receive a partial loan from Russia to finance the purchase of the S-400. Deliveries of the modern S-400, which caused a crisis in relations between Turkey and the United States of America, began in mid-July 2019.
Washington demanded that Ankara abandon this deal in exchange for providing it with the American Patriot Group, threatening to delay or even cancel the sale of the latest F-35 fighters to it, in addition to imposing sanctions. Ankara refused to make concessions as negotiations continued on an additional batch of S-400s. Turkey initially planned to buy about 100 F-35A fighters, but it was excluded from the production and procurement program after it acquired the S-400 air defense system.
Turkey reiterates that its experience of the Russian air defense system, S-400, does not conflict with its obligations as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), calling on allied countries to suggest alternatives to reconcile the system with NATO weapons.