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U.S. Seeks To Persuade Turkey To Reject Russia, Buy U.S. Missile-Defense System

A launch station for the U.S. Patriot missile-defense system is seen at a test range in Poland.
A launch station for the U.S. Patriot missile-defense system is seen at a test range in Poland.

The U.S. State Department says it is working to persuade NATO ally Turkey to purchase Raytheon Patriot missile-defense systems rather than a rival Russian missile system.

Tina Kaidanow, acting U.S. assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told reporters at the Farnborough Airshow in England on July 16 that U.S. officials are "trying to give the Turks an understanding of what we can do with respect to Patriot."

Turkey passed over the Patriot system twice in its selection process, first choosing a Chinese system, then turning to the Russian S-400 system in 2017.

Industry executives say Turkey, in considering the purchase of Patriots, has sought more technology transfers than Washington has been willing to provide.

But Assistant Secretary of Defense Kevin Fahey told reporters at the air show that Washington is now making more of an effort to address Turkey's demands.

"Turkey has had an interest in Patriot, so we've been working for a while on how we can make that work," he said.

U.S. and NATO officials have repeatedly warned Ankara that the Russian missile system cannot be integrated into the NATO air and missile-defense system.

Moreover, the U.S. Congress has approved legislation that would bar Ankara's purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets if it goes through with the purchase of Russian missiles.

Kaidanow said Washington is "concerned that by purchasing these systems from the Russians, it will be supportive of some of the least good behavior that we have seen from" Moscow in Europe and elsewhere.

She said Washington wants to ensure that systems acquired by U.S. allies "remain supportive of the strategic relationship between us and our allies. In the case of Turkey, that is Patriots."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters