Turkey to buy Russian missiles despite US ‘threats’
Turkey on Sunday dismissed US threats of sanctions if it went ahead with a Russian missile purchase, saying it would not renege on a pledge to Moscow.
Washington has warned its NATO ally for months that Ankara'sadoption of Russian S-400 missile technology alongside US F-35 fighters wouldpose a threat to the jets and endanger Western defence.
The US has said it will halt a joint F-35 programme withTurkey if it acquires the Russian missile defence system. A US law furthermoreprovides for sanctions on any country concluding arms deals with Russiancompanies.
"The US threats of sanctions shows that they don't knowTurkey," Vice President Fuat Oktay told Kanal 7 television.
"The decision on the S-400 has been taken. Once a pacthas been signed, one's word given, Turkey respects it," he said.
The S-400 purchase is one dispute fuelling tensions betweentwo nations also at odds over US support for Syrian Kurdish militias which Ankarabrands as terrorists and Turkish backing for US foe Venezuela.
Ankara said the first deliveries of the S-400 are scheduledfor June or July.
Last month, after repeated warnings, the United States saidTurkey's decision to buy the S-400 system was incompatible with it remainingpart of the emblematic F-35 jet programme.
Turkey had planned to buy 100 F-35A fighter jets, withpilots already training in the United States.
Washington has placed a freeze on the joint manufacturingoperations with Turkey, and suggestedAnkara might be able to obtain a US missile defence system if it forgoes theone on offer from Moscow.