U.S. Puts Turkey in Tight Spot over Defense Missile Contract

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is in a tight spot as his government lacks time to choose between buying Russian air defenses and declining the offer from the United States for the price of receiving new sanctions.

The Turkish currency lira hit rock bottom last summer due to the crisis in the international relations between the two NATO allies that occurred over the different views they had about the sanctions towards Iran and the positions they held over the crisis in Syria which were followed by the detention of several U.S. diplomats from Ankara.

According to a statement written by Kasapoglu, if Washington imposes sanctions under CAATSA, it could affect the combat readiness of Turkey’s existing fleet of U.S. F-16 Jets.

If Turkey pushes this deal with Russia they might receive new sanctions from the United States and can even lose the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets.

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin Corp’s LMT Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) business unit recently secured a $945.9-million non-competitive hybrid contract for providing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with technical support services related to Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system. The contract was procured under the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) program. And while all these events occur, the lira has fallen 1.5 percent mostly because of the newest diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and Turkey.

Turkey now has a deadline at the end of this month to decide whether they buy a $3.5 billion Raytheon Co. Patriot missile shield system according to Washington officials.

Turkish President Erdogan did not categorically reject U.S. proposal, but he did say that Turkey will not pull out of a contract for Russia’s S-400 defense system.

In a diplomatic way, Washington said that Turkey cannot sit on two chairs.

On this issue Tayyip Erdogan stated:

‘’It’s done. There can never be a turning back. This would be immoral. Nobody should ask us to lick up what we spat. Ankara may even seek to procure Russia’s next-generation S-500 system.”

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