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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 March 2019

Turkey in tough Patriot missile talks as United States seeks Russian S-400 snub

Washington are looking to sell the Nato allies an American-made system

A Japanese soldier stands at guard before a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) ballistic missiles interceptor. EPA
A Japanese soldier stands at guard before a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) ballistic missiles interceptor. EPA

Turkey is in talks with the US to buy the Patriot missile defence system as Washington scrambles to stop its Nato ally purchasing the Russian S-400 system.

"The US said they could sell Patriots and the delegations are negotiating", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Anadolu news agency on Friday.

But Ankara rejected a US proposal last month to deliver a Patriot missile defence system by the end of 2019 if it abandoned the deal with Russia, Bloomberg reported.

The US increased the price for quick delivery and did not include a loan or technology-sharing agreement as the Russians had promised, leading Turkey to reject the deal.

But US officials said Turkey appeared to be looking for reasons to leave the negotiations. The US has offered a better deal on pricing and co-production than Russia, they said, suggesting Turkey's motivations are political.

The US, who previously refused to sell the Patriot defence system to Turkey, is now pressing for a purchase, saying it could not integrate Russia technology into Nato defences.

Turkey expects to receive the first S-400 system in July, and Russia promised joint production and technology transfer.

The US has threatened to impose sanctions on Ankara if it receives missiles from Russia and there have been calls for Turkey's purchase of American-made F-35 jets to be put on hold.

Turkey-US relations are tense amid disagreements over Washington's support for Syrian Kurdish forces and for America's refusal to extradite a cleric accused by Ankara of organising a failed coup.

Updated: March 4, 2019 01:40 AM

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