U.S. State Department expects Blinken and Turkish minister to chat, but says policy on S-400 unchanged
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to have a chat with his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in the coming days, the State Department spokesman said on Wednesday, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Asked if the United States is considering Turkey’s recent suggestion that it may not need to make the Russian S-400 missile defense systems operational all the time, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington’s policy remained unchanged.
“Russian S-400s are incompatible with NATO equipment, they threaten the security of NATO technology, and they’re inconsistent with Turkey’s commitments as a NATO ally,” Price told reporters.
Turkey’s defense minister, Hulusi Akar, was cited on Tuesday as saying that Turkey would propose only partially activating its S-400s in negotiations with the United States, which sanctioned Ankara over the air defense systems in December.
Washington sanctioned Ankara for acquiring the S-400s on grounds they threaten its F-35 fighter jets and are incompatible with shared NATO defenses, something that Turkey rejects. Turkey says the systems will stand independently from NATO defenses.
Since Democrat Joe Biden was elected U.S. president, Ankara has said it wants better ties and again proposed an S-400 joint working group. Washington has repeatedly rejected that and says sanctions will remain until Turkey no longer possesses the missiles.