Informed sources said that Turkey has two weeks to decide whether to complete S-400 deal with Russia or risk US penalties, which would include cancelling deal of 100 F-35 jets, US media reported on Wednesday.
By the end of the first week of June, the CNBC reported, Turkey must cancel a multibillion-dollar deal with Russia and instead buy US-made Patriot missile defence system.
According to the CNBC, if Turkey did not abide by these orders, it would face removal from F-35 programme, forfeiture of 100 promised F-35 jets, the imposition of US sanctions and potential blowback from NATO.
However, Anadolu reported that Turkish defence minister said that Turkish military personnel are currently receiving training in Russia for the use of the S-400 air defence system.
“We have sent personnel to Russia for S-400 training that will begin in the coming days and will span the following months,” Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday.
“We need to set up an air defence system to protect our 82 million people and our country,” Akar said, stressing that Turkey was under threat of air and missile attacks from Syrian borders.
Underlining that the S-400 systems only had defence capabilities, he said “no one should be bothered” by their use by Turkey.
Akar, according to Anadolu, emphasised that the F-35 fighter jet was developed under an ongoing joint project, noting that Turkey had military personnel in the US to receive training and for the planes’ maintenance.
“We as the Republic of Turkey fulfil our responsibilities in a serious and sincere manner,” he said, adding that the jets would later be deployed in Turkey’s eastern Malatya province.