July 10, 2019 / 9:32 AM / 12 days ago

Turkey warns United States against harmful steps over Russian S-400s

FILE PHOTO: A Russian serviceman walks past S-400 missile air defence systems before a parade marking the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in central Moscow, Russia April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva/File Photo

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey called on the United States on Wednesday to avoid steps harmful to bilateral relations after the U.S. State Department spokeswoman reiterated Ankara would face “real and negative consequences” for acquiring Russian S-400 defence systems.

Turkey’s foreign ministry spokesman said the comments by the State Department’s Morgan Ortagus on Tuesday were not in line with the spirit and content of talks between presidents of the two countries at the G20 summit last month.

“We invite the U.S. side to avoid taking wrong steps, excluding diplomacy and dialogue, that will harm relations,” spokesman Hami Aksoy said, adding Ankara had still not received a response to its proposal to set up a working group to look into the impact of the S-400 purchase.

President Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting President Donald Trump in Osaka that the United States did not plan to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the S-400s, which he said would arrive in the first half of July. Trump said Turkey had not been treated fairly but did not rule out sanctions.

The United States says the S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defence network and could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and planning to buy.

Turkey could face expulsion from the F-35 programme and other U.S. sanctions if it goes ahead with the S-400 delivery. Washington has already halted training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.

Reporting by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans

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