The US has been trying to dissuade Turkey from buying Russian air defense systems, citing concerns that Moscow could use them to reveal secret details of the fifth generation F-35 jet, which Turkey is also purchasing.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Tina Kaidanow has been discussing the possibility of selling Patriot air defense systems to Ankara, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported. Kaidanow is currently at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK, where she is negotiating trade deals with other US allies, but it’s unclear whether she has spoken with Turkish representatives there.
“[We are] trying to give the Turks an understanding of what we can do with respect to Patriots,” Kaidanow said.
The assistant secretary explained that the US’ goal is to ensure that defense systems obtained by its allies remain “supportive of the strategic relationship” between Washington and its allies.
The US has been trying to convince Turkey to abandon its deal to acquire Russian S-400 air defense systems that it signed in December 2017, but has met with little success thus far. The US Congress has passed a bill that is set to prevent the shipment of the cutting edge, fifth generation F-35 jet fighters to Turkey until the Pentagon presents a report proving that they are not at risk of being compromised by the Russian S-400s.
Ankara has slammed the US bill, claiming that it has fulfilled all its obligations for the delivery of the F-35s and has already begun payments for them. Several Turkish officials have noted that their country has the right to defend itself and that it needs air defense systems to do so. Some of them explained that since Turkey’s allies have failed to present an acceptable deal for NATO-made air defense systems, Ankara has been forced to look elsewhere for an alternative solution.