by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Turkey intends to move ahead with its purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system, despite warnings from the United States of icier relations to come between the two NATO allies if the sale proceeds.
Earlier this month, Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan wrote a letter to the Turkish government forbidding it from purchasing the advanced anti-aircraft technology, which he said would conflict with the US’s plan to equip its NATO allies with F-35 fighter jets over the next decade.
“In addition to threatening the security of platforms like the F-35, Turkey’s procurement of the S-400 will hinder your nation’s ability to enhance or maintain cooperation with the United States and within NATO,” Shanahan wrote, giving Turkey until July 31st to reverse course before the US completely excludes it from its warplane program.
On Friday, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu remained defiant, saying Turkey would take “reciprocal steps” to any US sanctions.
“We are determined on the S-400 issue. No matter what the results will be, we will not take a step back,” he told Turkish TV.
US officials see the weapons sale as strategic Russian interference designed to weaken NATO, of which Turkey is an integral part due to its status as a geographical buffer zone between Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.