The US to negotiate with Turkey on S-400
US President Donald Trump has accepted an offer to form a joint working group with Turkey to study Washington's concerns over Ankara's purchase of S-400 missile defence system from Russia, the Middle East Eye reported on Friday. TRT World reports in its article Trump accepts Turkey's offer of working group on Russian S-400 – report that citing several unnamed Turkish officials, the London-based online news outlet reported the Pentagon and US Department of State were against the formation of the group. Trump overruled their apprehensions in a phone conversation with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, the news organisation reported.
Officials in Turkey and the US were not immediately available for comment. Washington says the sale of S-400s to Turkey will jeopardise Ankara's role in the US F-35 fighter jet programme and could trigger Congressional sanctions.
No delay in delivery of missiles
Turkey on Friday denied reports claiming Ankara is considering a delay in the procurement of the S-400 missile defence systems on US demands. "Our procurement process of S-400 from Russia is ongoing as planned," Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said. He also said Turkey's offer to form a working group with the US to discuss Ankara's pending procurement of Russian S-400 is still valid.
Tensions between the US and Turkey reached a fever pitch in recent months with Ankara set to receive the surface-to-air missile defence system. Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defence system from the US with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400. US officials advised Turkey to buy the US Patriot missile system rather than the S-400s from Moscow, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge. Turkey, however, emphasised the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.