Politics 18:37 05/04/2019 Region

Pentagon nixes Turkish offer to address S-400 fears

The Pentagon will not entertain Turkey’s plan to set up a bilateral working group aimed at tempering US fears over the looming acquisition of Russian air defenses, the Defense Department told Al-Monitor on Thursday.

Speaking at a Washington panel celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NATO alliance on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu again insisted that the purchase of the Russian made S-400 was “a done deal.” But he also floated the idea of creating a bilateral panel to try to quell US fears that the system could give Russia insights into Western weapons systems, including the F-35 fighter jet, for which Turkey builds the fuselage.

Cavusoglu’s pitch for a working group appears to be the newest idea from Ankara to quash tensions over the pending purchase of the S-400, which Turkey insists will not be integrated into NATO networks. But the Donald Trump administration isn’t interested.

“A technical working group at this stage isn't necessary or a path the US is even considering as a resolution,” said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon. “We have been clear with Turkey at all levels — the S-400 is a threat to the F-35 program and the safety of our NATO allies.”

The United States had anticipated that the first jets sold to Turkey would be transferred as early as this summer, but the Pentagon halted the delivery of F-35 equipment to the country earlier this week in response to the pending S-400 purchase.

Despite the rising tensions, the US continues to proceed with Turkish training on the F-35 in hopes that Ankara may come around on the S-400. The Pentagon today delivered two more of the jets to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, where Turkish pilots are training on the jets before they are flown back to Turkey and formally handed over to Ankara.



Source Panorama.am
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