Bloomberg – Turkey has taken its case for buying a Russian air-defense system directly to President Donald Trump, in a last-ditch effort to defuse tensions between the NATO allies.
“We delivered our message and received quite positive feedback,” Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak told reporters on Monday, after he explained to the U.S. president why Turkey needs missiles that have raised questions about its alliance with the West. It’s likely to use the advanced system to defend Istanbul, the country’s commercial center, and its capital, Ankara, according to Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
Turkey’s decision to purchase the Russian missiles has poisoned ties with the U.S. since it was made public in 2017. Ankara says it was forced to turn to Russia for protection against aerial attacks after Washington balked for years at selling it Patriot missile defense systems. But the U.S. says the Russian missile shield was designed to shoot down American and allied aircraft, including Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which Turkish manufacturers help build.