US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, during a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, called on Turkey to abandon the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. In response, the Turkish minister said that the purchase of the S-400 is “an already resolved issue,” Reuters reports.
Anthony Blinken is on a two-day visit to Brussels, this is his first personal meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister. During the meeting, the US Secretary of State, in particular, “urged Turkey not to leave” the Russian S-400s, according to a press release on the State Department’s website.
Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters after the meeting that he “again reminded” the US Secretary of State “why Turkey bought the S-400 from Russia.” Earlier, the minister explained that Ankara acquired the S-400 because “it is not going to always ask NATO for air defense systems.” “The complexes have been purchased, and now the issue is closed,” said Mr. Cavusoglu (quoted by RIA Novosti).
Russia began deliveries of S-400s to Turkey in 2019. The United States has repeatedly demanded to abandon the deal, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara would not do this. The State Department argued that the S-400 air defense system threatened the security of the American military. In December 2020, the United States imposed sanctions on the Turkish Defense Industry Directorate and four senior agency officials over the purchase of the S-400. Ankara said that pressure on it from Washington over the S-400 deal could backfire.