At the same time that the United States is touting a closer relationship with Greece and seeking an expanded military presence in the country, Turkey is negotiating an offer to buy an American-made Patriot missile defense after purchases of F-35 fighter jets were held up.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country wants the Patriot system even as worries have persisted that there could be an accidental conflict with Greece over disputes in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
Cavusoglu’s comments were carried by state-owned Anadolu news agency after Bloomberg reported that Turkey had rejected a US proposal to deliver a Patriot missile system by the end of the year because the US wants Turkey not also buy a Russian missile defense that couldn’t be integrated into the NATO system. Turkey and Greece are members.
President Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey remains committed to the Russian deal with Greece worried it – as well as F-35s – could be used against Greece if trouble broke out and with the US simultaneously courting Greece and Turkey.
US officials had said if Turkey proceeds with the S-400 Russian missile purchase, Washington would withdraw its offer to sell a $3.5 billion Raytheon Patriot missile package, and could block the sale of fighter jets to Turkey and impose sanctions.
The United States “said they could sell Patriots, and the delegations are negotiating”, Cavusoglu said.