Turkey says buying Russian defence system should not trigger U.S. sanctions
By Humeyra Pamuk WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Turkey's purchase of a Russian air defence missile system should not trigger U.S.
By Humeyra Pamuk
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Turkey's purchase of a Russian air defence missile system should not trigger U.S. sanctions because Ankara is not an adversary of Washington and remains committed to the NATO alliance, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Monday.
Speaking at a U.S.-Turkey conference in Washington amid rising tensions between the two NATO allies over Ankara's plan to buy the Russian S-400 missile system, Akar adopted a relatively conciliatory tone and urged to resolve issues via dialogue.
"Turkey is clearly not an adversary of the United States," Akar said and added that therefore its procurement of the S-400 system should not be considered within the scope of U.S. sanctions designed to target America's enemies.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that Washington had told Ankara it could face retribution for buying the S-400s under a sanctions law known as Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CATSAA).
"This procurement decision does not signify a change in Turkey's course. I'd like to reiterate strongly that there is no change in Turkey's commitment to NATO," Akar said.
The disagreement over the F-35 is the latest of a series of diplomatic disputes between the United States and Turkey including Turkish demands that the United States extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, differences over Middle East policy and the war in Syria, and sanctions on Iran.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has refused to back down from Ankara's planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defence system that the United States has said would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft, made by Lockheed Martin Corp . Turkey has said it will take delivery of the S-400s in July.
In early April, the United States halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete U.S. step to potentially blocking the delivery of the jet to the NATO ally.
Akar said Turkey was puzzled by the move and expected U.S. and other partners in the programme to fulfil their obligations.
"We firmly believe that linking the S-400 to the F-35 project is unfortunate ... We are one of the investors and partners and not just a buyer. We have invested over $1 billion ... and fulfilled all our obligations," he said.
Akar repeated Turkey's offer to hold technical talks with the United States to address "technical concerns" over the S-400 purchase.
Turkey is also assessing a renewed offer from the United States to buy Patriot missile defence systems, Akar added.
"Recently we received the restated offer for the Patriots. This offer is now on the table, we are studying it carefully," he said.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Additional reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun in Istanbul; Editing by Dominic Evans and Phil Berlowitz)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.