US President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart last week that Washington was ready to make a new offer over its Patriot missile system to end a crisis over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile system, according to multiple Turkish officials who spoke to Middle East Eye.
In a phone call last Thursday, Trump asked Recep Tayyip Erdogan whether he was still interested in purchasing the Patriots, even though Turkey has begun to receive the S-400 system, the sources said.
“Trump said if Turkey does not unpack the S-400s and purchases the Patriots, then Ankara could continue to operate F-35s and still produce parts of the plane,” a Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to diplomatic protocol, told MEE.
Even though Turkey has already paid more than $1bn for the F-35 fighter jets, the Pentagon earlier this summer decided to suspend Ankara from its F-35 program, saying the delivery of the S-400s would put the plane’s crucial technology at risk.
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