Earlier, a senior US official told Turkish media that Washington would halt the sale of Patriot missiles to Ankara if the country proceeded with the purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defence systems.
The United States’ threat to cancel the sale of Patriot missiles to Turkey if it buys Russian air defence systems is really aimed at postponing a Turkish cross-border operation in neighbouring Syria, retired Turkish Brig. Gen. Fahri Erenel has said.
“A similar threat was made during the important negotiations by the Turkish delegation in Washington on Manbij, Syria. And this is not a coincidence. Their plans include postponing the upcoming Turkish operation in Syria. The US’s main problem is Turkey’s determination to conduct an operation east of the Euphrates River and the further deployment of the country’s military contingent in the region,” the retired officer argued.
Turkey and Russia finalised a contract on the sale of four battalion sets of S-400s in December 2017, with the first of the systems expected to be delivered later this year. Designed to stop enemy aircraft, drones, as well as cruise and ballistic missiles, the S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defence system in Russia’s arsenal, and is fielded by only a handful of countries. The US has put heavy pressure on Ankara over the deal, claiming the systems would pose a threat to F-35 stealth jets, and offering the country $3.5 billion-worth of Patriot PAC-3 air defence systems instead