Turkey says U.S. offering Patriot missiles if S-400 not operated

ANKARA (HRNW) – The United States has offered to sell Turkey its Patriot missile defense system if Ankara promises not to operate a rival Russian system, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said, in what he called a significant softening in Washington’s position.

Two Turkish officials told Reuters that Turkey was evaluating the U.S. offer but that Ankara had not changed its plans for the Russian S-400 systems, which it has said it will start to activate next month.

In Washington, the Pentagon said that U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper had not changed his position on the issue, which was: “Turkey is not going to receive a Patriot battery unless it returns the S-400.”

NATO allies Turkey and the United States have been at odds over Ankara’s purchase last year of the S-400s, which Washington says are incompatible with the alliance’s defense systems.

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