ANKARA - Turkey is willing to purchase U.S.-made Patriot air defense systems but will not agree to disposing of the Russian S-400 system it has already bought, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters on board his plane on his way back from a meeting with Donald Trump in Washington, Erdogan said the U.S. president was engaged in “sincere efforts” to resolve disputes between the NATO allies.
Turkey took delivery of the Russian S-400 system this year, dismissing warnings from the United States that it poses a threat to NATO security.
As a result, Washington suspended Turkish participation in the multinational F-35 fighter jet program.
“We told them we can purchase the Patriots too. We regard the proposal to completely remove the S-400s (from Turkey) as meddling in our sovereign rights,” the state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Erdogan as saying. “There can be no question of us leaving the S-400s and turning toward the Patriots.”
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