Posted on April 4, 2019
US Vice-President Mike Pence has warned Turkey against buying a Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system that Washington sees as a threat to US jets. He said Turkey “must choose” between remaining a key Nato member or risk the security of that partnership “by making such reckless decisions”.
Turkey responded that the purchase of the advanced system was a done deal. Ankara has been establishing closer links with Russia after recent souring of its ties with the US and Europe. Turkey has the second-largest army in Nato, a 29-member military alliance set up to defend against what was at the time the Soviet Union. Mr Pence also rebuked Germany – another key Nato member – for not spending enough on its defence. Moscow has made no public comments on the latest developments. Relation between Nato and Russia have deteriorated over Moscow’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and its withdrawal from a key missile treaty.
Speaking at a gathering in Washington to mark Nato’s 70th anniversary, Mr Pence said: “Turkey must choose. Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?”
The US believes that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 would be a threat to US F-35 fighter jets.
Washington has already suspended Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet programme.
The US has also been pushing for Turkey to buy America’s Patriot missiles instead.
Senior Nato officials have repeatedly stated that the Russian system is not compatible with the alliance’s equipment.