Turkey is interested in buying US-made Patriot missiles, if Washington can offer a good deal, says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – this despite US sanctions on its NATO ally for buying the Russian S-400 air defense systems.
Erdogan said he brought up the deal in a phone call with US President Donald Trump, and will discuss it in person on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month.
“I said no matter what package of … S-400s we get, we can buy from you a certain amount of Patriots,” Erdogan told Reuters on Friday. “But I said we have to see conditions that at least match up to the S-400s.”
He [Trump] said: ‘Are you serious?’ I said: ‘Yes.’
Ankara had gone forward with buying S-400 air defense systems from Russia, ignoring the warnings, pleas and even threats from Washington. The first deliveries were made in July, and resulted in Turkey being suspended from the F-35 fighter program.
Erdogan seemed confident that he could charm Trump into not escalating the row any further, however, saying that they had “a different kind of trust.”
“In my opinion a country like the USA will not want to hurt its ally Turkey any more. This is not rational behavior,” Erdogan told the agency at the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul.
Just two weeks ago, Erdogan was in Moscow, bonding with Russian President Vladimir Putin over ice cream and telling Turkish reporters that Ankara could buy Russian fighter jets if the US persisted in denying it access to the F-35.
Erdogan is set to meet Putin again on Monday, at the trilateral summit with Iran to discuss the situation in Syria.
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