Turkey criticizes State Department over description of Pompeo meeting

by Garry Watts April 5, 2019, 0:35
Turkey criticizes State Department over description of Pompeo meeting

"We will only continue to discuss that potential sale to Turkey", Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger told Congress last month, "if it commits to not accepting the S-400".

US Vice-President Mike Pence has warned Turkey against buying a Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system that Washington sees as a threat to US jets.

"We don't see our relations with Russian Federation as an alternative to our relations with others".

Speaking at a forum earlier in the day, Cavusoglu said bluntly when asked if he thought the United States had a clear policy in Syria: "No, and this is the problem".

But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu ruled out a change of heart, saying: "The S-400 deal is a done deal and we will not step back from this".

The Pentagon said Wednesday it transferred one of Turkey's two F-35 jets to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

Hours before foreign ministers from the 29-member Western alliance opened talks in Washington with a leisurely reception, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a stinging rebuke both to Germany over its level of defense spending and to Turkey for buying a major arms system from Russian Federation.

Turkey has engaged with United States negotiators in recent days about buying the Patriot system, a person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

Turkish lira slides after vote; Istanbul slips from Erdogan
Supporters of opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) celebrate after early results of the local election in Ankara . Erdogan pledged that Turkey would now focus on its troubled economy in the run-up to national elections in 2023.

This week Turkey also released footage of its new hypersonic rail gun which China, the USA and Russian Federation have all sort to develop.

The United States hopes to find a way out of the dispute by convincing Turkey to purchase the USA -made Patriot air defense system. The United States this week halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey.

Cavusoglu said Turkey's chief prosecutor has yet to make a decision as to whether or not to release any additional details about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A Pentagon official had told Reuters in March that the United States had a number of items it could withhold in order to send Turkey a signal that the United States was serious about Ankara dropping its ambition to own the S-400.

Britons were nearly equal in the urge to protect as Americans, but opinion was an "even split" on whether to defend Turkey, while the French were more willing to defend the US and others apart from the Ukraine, Turkey, and Romania.

"It is time to stop bringing back the 'Eastern threat.' In the interest of peace, the world needs a de-escalation of military and political tensions", the foreign ministry said.

Cavusoglu said the S-400 system would be separate from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation infrastructure in Turkey with no linkages to the F-35s. "But we must not be naive", Stoltenberg said. Washington and Ankara are trying to work out an agreement that will alleviate Turkey's security concerns along its border with northern Syria and protect America's Kurdish allies from a threatened Turkish military offensive.

The state has also carried two-cross border operations in the region.

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