Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Antalya, Turkey on Friday. Reuters
ISTANBUL: Turkey will honor its air defense deal with Russia, Ankara said on Friday after four US senators introduced a bill to ban the planned delivery of F-35 fighter jets if Turkey ignored US opposition and accepted the S-400 system.
“We have agreed with Russia in the end and signed an agreement. This agreement is valid (and) we are discussing when the delivery will be,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said following a meeting with his Russian counterpart.
“This agreement is a done deal.”
The US senators on Thursday introduced a bipartisan bill to prohibit the transfer of F-35 aircraft from the United States to Turkey until the US government certifies that Ankara will not take delivery of the Russian S-400 system, a statement on the move said.
Turkey has been receiving contradictory statements from the United States, Cavusoglu said, adding Ankara has met all its obligations related to the F-35s, which are made by Lockheed Martin Corp.
Turkey is a production partner in the trillion-dollar F-35 fighter jet program but the United States, a NATO ally, has opposed its purchase of Russian systems which could compromise the security of the aircraft.
Turkey had no intention of selling the S-400s to another country, Cavusoglu said.
The United States could soon freeze preparations for delivering F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, officials told Reuters, in what would be the strongest signal yet by Washington that Ankara cannot have both the advanced aircraft and Russia’s S-400 air defense system.
The attack north of Hama city adds to pressures on Russian-Turkish agreements that have contained the war in northwestern Syria, the last major foothold of the insurgency against President Bashar Al Assad.
Attacks by two extremist groups killed at least 17 Syrian government troops and militiamen in the northern province of Aleppo early on Saturday, a war monitor said. Thirty others were wounded in the assaults by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria branch,
Turkish and Russian officials are reviewing deployment of their forces in the Syrian border region of Tel Rifaat, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Sunday, a day after cross-border fire from the area killed one Turkish soldier.
Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky steps into his new role as Ukrainian president with his inauguration on Monday, launching a new era for the country wracked by war and economic difficulties.
The US ambassador to China is making the first trip to Tibet by an American envoy in four years after obtaining rare access to the restricted region, his embassy said on Monday.
Sudan’s ruling military council restarted talks late on Sunday with an alliance of protest and opposition groups that is pushing for a civilian-led transition to democracy.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has called the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states as well as the heads of states of Arab League countries for two extraordinary summits in the Holy City of Makkah on May 30, to look into the recent acts of sabotage against commercial vessels off the UAE waters and the dual terrorist attacks against two Saudi pumping stations, and their consequences on the region.