The United States has asked Turkey to delay taking delivery of the S-400 Russian missile defense system, currently scheduled for July, in return for potentially approving the formation of a working group that Ankara has sought to establish, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday, Trend reports citing Reuters.
But a senior Turkish official reiterated Ankara’s position that it would not back down from its planned purchase of the system, a procurement that has widened a diplomatic rift between the two NATO allies.
“We will buy the s-400s in July. Our position has not changed,” he said.
But the source said talks on the issue continued.
U.S. officials have called Turkey’s planned purchase of the S-400 missile defense system “deeply problematic,” saying it would risk Ankara’s partnership in the joint strike fighter F-35 program because it would compromise the jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.
The United States and other NATO allies that own F-35s fear the radar on the system will learn how to spot and track the jet, making it less able to evade Russian weapons.