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Turkey announces talks with US on S-400 defence system

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 23 December 2020. [Fatih Aktaş - Anadolu Agency]
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 23 December 2020 [Fatih Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced on Wednesday that his country would start negotiations with the US over the Russian S-400 missile defence system, news agencies reported.

Speaking at a news conference, Çavuşoğlu confirmed that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had now indicated an interest in setting up a joint working group, according to Reuters.

"In our meeting with Pompeo, we said our proposal still stands and the Americans said, 'let's work together on this issue.' There are talks right now, the joint working group has not been set up yet," Çavuşoğlu affirmed.

This came several days after new US sanctions were imposed on NATO ally Turkey's Defence Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other employees this month following its acquisition of the S-400s.

Reuters reported Turkish officials stating that purchasing the S-400s was not a choice, but rather a necessity, as it was unable to procure air defence systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.

READ: Ankara and Washington have work to do to maintain their relationship

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