S-400 a Pretext to Exclude Ankara From US F-35 Program - Retired Turkish General

© Sputnik / Alexey MalgavkoThe S-400 Triumf anti-air missile system
The S-400 Triumf anti-air missile system - Sputnik International
US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus has warned Turkey about the “very negative consequences” their acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense systems will have if it goes ahead. The purchase of the surface-to-air missile defence systems will seriously affect the defence relations of the United States and NATO with Turkey, she said.

Earlier, CNBC, citing informed sources, reported that Washington gave Ankara two weeks to abandon the deal with Russia and purchase American Patriot systems. Otherwise, the US will exclude Turkey from the F-35 program.

However, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran denied this information during a press conference in Washington, stressing that there was no such official statement from the US side.

Erdogan Karakush, a retired Lieutenant-General of the Turkish Air Force, and now the chairman of the Turkish Union of retired officers commented on the statement by Morgan Ortagus and the US position on this issue, in general, saying that it's not legally justified.

READ MORE: US Gave Turkey No Official Ultimatum to Ditch S-400 Deal — Turkish Deputy FM

“No information on the F-35 can be obtained through the S-400. All this is just an excuse. The main goal of Americans is to suspend the deliveries of F-35 to Turkey. In this situation, it is necessary to pay attention not only to the position of the United States, but also Israel and Greece, which are interested in obtaining multi-billion dollar contracts for the supply of spare parts for the F-35 program, which, under the current agreement, is Turkey's job. In this regard, they are interested in excluding Turkey from this program. So the issue is not solely limited to the relationship between Turkey and the United States and the tensions over S-400 missiles”, Karakush explained.

Russian S-400 Triumph missile system launchers are pictured during combat duty at an air defence unit of the Baltic fleet in Kaliningrad region, Russia - Sputnik International
'Very Negative' Consequences For Turkey If S-400 Deal Takes Place - State Dept
“Meanwhile, Russia, by supplying a modern and sophisticated weapons system like the S-400 to a NATO member country, demonstrates a truly bold and dedicated position. After all, it could also express concern about the hypothetical possibility of NATO intelligence obtaining information on the S-400. However, the United States expresses dissatisfaction and concerns about this, having no reason to do so. Washington’s position is very frustrating because Turkey joined the F-35 production program 20 years ago and during this time made a significant contribution to the development of this project”, the former top military official concluded. 

Moscow and Ankara signed a loan deal for the delivery of S-400 air defence systems to Turkey back in December 2017. Since then, the United States has put pressure on Turkey to drop its plans to buy Russia's missiles threatening its NATO ally with sanctions and claiming it could compromise the F-35 technology and stealth capabilities. In April, the US halted deliveries of F-35-related equipment to Turkey as a result.

READ MORE: Germany Wants Turkey to Drop S-400 Missile Systems Deal With Russia — Official

Despite US criticism and threats, Ankara has refused to back away from the deal, saying that the purchase of defensive weapons is its sovereign affair.

Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Erdogan Karakush and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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