Published: Sat, April 06, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Mike Pence Slams Turkey And Germany In NATO Speech

Mike Pence Slams Turkey And Germany In NATO Speech

A Pentagon spokesman, Charles E. Summers Jr., told reporters that the US government considers Turkey's acquisition of the Russian S-400 system highly problematic but declined to say if officials thought it should affect Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership.

The United States hopes to find a way out of the dispute by convincing Turkey to purchase the USA -made Patriot air defense system.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday at the Department of State in Washington. This week, Washington announced it was halting deliveries of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey until Ankara walked back on its deal with Moscow.

In an effort to keep Turkey from buying Russian-made weapons, the State Department in December approved the potential sale of the Patriot missile system and related equipment to the country for $3.5 billion.

Previous year the United States put China, Russia, and Iran at the heart of its national strategy for defense.

Meanwhile, Russia and Turkey remain in talks over the delivery date for S-400 parts, originally slated for May.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkey's Daily Sabah reported that Turkey "had completed preparations for a cross border operation" in Syria, east of the Euphrates River, and it quoted an anonymous Turkish military source, "We are waiting for instructions of the government for the military operation".

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"So the S-400 deal is being carried out, and we expect the systems to be supplied in July", he told the Haberturk TV channel.

Cavusoglu said Turkey's chief prosecutor has yet to make a decision as to whether or not to release any additional details about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO Supreme Allied Commander and the head of U.S. European Command, said the issue is of broader concern outside the U.S. and Turkish relationship.

But Erdogan said although Ankara was keen to buy the US-produced missiles, "America was unfortunately not giving Patriots to us on the same terms" as Russian Federation. The U.S. intelligence community has identified Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman as the plan's architect - an assessment Trump and his cabinet members have contradicted in public statements. The Trump administration recently canceled the sale of advanced F-35 war planes to Turkey as a result of this behavior, which Pence said is unacceptable.

The US said on Monday that it was halting shipment of F-35 parts to Turkey as well as joint manufacturing work due to Ankara's purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russian Federation. Turkey has shown interest in the Patriot system, but not at the expense of abandoning the S-400.

"A technical working group at this stage isn't necessary or a path the United States is even considering as a resolution", said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon. Two additional jets are scheduled to arrive in Arizona in April and a significant delay could impact Turkey's November target date for operations.

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