Turkey rejects latest US offer to sell Patriot missiles

TEHRAN, Mar. 02 (MNA) – Turkey has rejected a US proposal to deliver one Patriot missile defense system by the end of 2019, which was conditional on Ankara abandoning a deal with Russia that’s strained ties between the NATO allies, two senior Turkish officials said on Friday.

The US administration made its offer before February 15, and then increased the price of the multi-billion dollar system in return for quick delivery, according to the officials who are familiar with the talks but not authorized to speak to the media, Bloomberg has reported. The proposal didn not include a loan agreement nor a technology sharing pact, a key Turkish demand, they said.

Turkey said in its response that it cannot accept the US offer and negotiations came to a standstill, the officials said.

Having balked for years at selling Turkey the Patriot system, the US State Department notified Congress in December that it had proposed doing just that, a gambit designed to get Ankara to halt an agreement with Russia for a S-400-based system, which could compromise NATO technology.

A US official familiar with the negotiations said Turkey appeared to be looking for reasons to walk away from the US deal. The US has offered Turkey better terms on both pricing and co-production than Russia, in an effort to persuade it not to go through with the S-400 purchase, the official said.

Turkey expects the first S-400 delivery in July. Russia has promised Turkey joint production and technology transfer as part of the agreement. Turkey’s determination to buy Russian missiles has fueled demands in the US that planned supplies of F-35 jets be put on hold even though portions of the Lockheed Martin Co. fighter are being built in Turkey.

The US has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey if it receives missilesfrom Russia.

According to Bloomberg, Turkish-US ties remain rocky after a series of disputes including Washington’s support for a Syrian Kurdish force that Ankara regards as a mortal enemy; Turkey’s demand that the US extradite a preacher it accuses of instigating the failed coup attempt in 2016; and the conviction in the US of a Turkish banker on Iran sanctions violations charges.

MNA/Bloomberg

News Code 143025

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