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No backtracking on Turkey’s S-400 deal with Russia, Erdogan says

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers his weekly speech to members of the parliament on October 23, 2018, in Ankara, Turkey. (Depo Photos/Zuma Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will not cancel a deal with Russia to buy an S-400 air-defense system despite pressure from fellow NATO member the United States.

“We have made an agreement [with Russia]. We are determined. There is nothing like backtracking from that,” the official Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan as saying.

Erdogan, speaking to reporters after morning prayers, added that a U.S. offer to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey was not as good as the Russian offer.

Ankara’s deal with Moscow to buy the Russian S-400 system has been a major source of contention between Turkey and the United States, which has threatened sanctions.

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Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said last week that the consequences would be “devastating” for Turkey’s joint F-35 fighter program and its cooperation with NATO if Ankara went ahead with plans to buy the Russian missile system.

Wheelbarger said the purchase would damage Turkey’s ability to work with the Western alliance, and force Washington to impose sanctions on Ankara.

Turkey has defied the mounting pressure and said the purchase was a “done deal.”