Trump to confront Turkey about buying Russian S-400 defense system
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Trump to confront Turkey about buying Russian S-400 defense system

Ankara likely to face sanctions unless it gives up air defense system which US says could endanger F-35 fighters and give sensitive information to Russians

Military vehicles and equipment, parts of the S-400 air defense systems, are unloaded from a Russian transport aircraft at Murted military airport in Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)
Military vehicles and equipment, parts of the S-400 air defense systems, are unloaded from a Russian transport aircraft at Murted military airport in Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)

NEW YORK (AP) — US President Donald Trump will confront Turkey’s leader about his decision to buy a Russian air defense system when they meet this week at the White House amid strained relations between the two NATO allies.

Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said Sunday that the United States is still “very upset” by the move to purchase the Russian S-400 system. The US says the system is not compatible with NATO forces and could compromise the F-35 fighter jet program and aid Russian intelligence. The Trump administration removed Turkey from the F-35 program in July.

O’Brien told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that if Turkey doesn’t get rid of the Russian system, Turkey will likely face US sanctions backed by a bipartisan majority in Congress.

Trump is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday. Trump and Erdogan plan a joint news conference Wednesday afternoon.

In this July 30, 2019, file photo, Robert O’Brien, then-US Special Envoy Ambassador, arrives at the district court in Stockholm, Sweden. (Erik Simander/TT via AP)

“There’s no place in NATO for the S-400,” O’Brien said. “There’s no place in NATO for significant Russian military purchases. That’s a message that the president will deliver to him very clearly when he’s here in Washington.”

O’Brien said, however, that the US will do everything it can to keep Turkey in NATO.

Turkey has been roundly criticized for its incursion into northern Syria to attack Kurdish forces that were fighting with the US against Islamic State militants. Trump has been denounced for removing US forces from the area before the incursion, but O’Brien said the administration did not pave the way for Erdogan’s offensive into Syria.

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