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Friday, September 25, 2020, 18:25
Turkey 'pushes' Macron to allow purchase of air missile systems
By Bloomberg
Friday, September 25, 2020, 18:25 By Bloomberg

This combo photo shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, delivering a speech following a cabinet meeting, in Ankara on June 9, 2020 and French President Emmanuel Macron listening during the closing press conference of the seventh MED7 Mediterranean countries summit, on Sept 10, 2020 in Porticcio, Corsica.(PHOTO / AFP)

Turkey approached France to procure European-made air defense systems, Turkish officials familiar with the matter said.

In a phone call earlier this week, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to drop his opposition to co-production of Eurosam SAMP/T air missile systems, the officials said, asking not to be named because the discussion was private. Macron responded by saying that Turkey must clarify its objectives in Syria before deployment of European made systems could be considered, according to an Elysee official, who also asked not to be named.

Macron responded by saying that Turkey must clarify its objectives in Syria before deployment of European made systems could be considered, according to an Elysee official, who also asked not to be named

ALSO READ: France halts joint missile system over Turkey's Syria operation

The outreach, along with repeated requests to the US for Patriot systems, shows Ankara giving Western allies another opportunity to provide its air defense systems. Turkey’s previous purchase of Russian a S-400 missile system has sorely tested relations with the US, which says its deployment could help Moscow gather critical intelligence on NATO military projects, including America’s most sophisticated warplane.

READ MORE: Greece, France 'hold joint drills' amid tensions with Turkey

Ankara has not yet activated the Russian missile battery, which was delivered last year. Yet despite the threat of US sanctions, Erdogan has refused to abandon them or trade them for an American system. Moscow has proposed joint production as part of a possible second contract, which Turkey has deliberated for nearly a year.

Turkey says it needs the advanced air defense system and was forced to purchase from Russia because its NATO allies, including the US, wouldn’t meet its defense needs on Turkish terms. The US has rejected Turkey’s demand for technology transfer as a part of any Patriot purchase.


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