Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan to dare President Trump

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Donald Trump

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey has already purchased S-400 defence systems from Russia and hopes they will be delivered in July, an announcement likely to ratchet up tensions with NATO ally Washington.

Turkey and the United States have sparred publicly for months over Ankara’s order for the S-400s, which are not compatible with NATO’s systems.

The purchase has raised eyebrows among Turkey’s NATO allies and provoked anger in Washington, which expected Ankara to opt for the American Patriot air defence system instead.

The Pentagon announced that if Turkey did not give up on the S-400 system by July 3, Ankara would be blocked from purchasing F-35 fighter jets and Turkish pilots currently training in the US would be expelled.

On Monday, US officials announced that Washington had halted the training of Turkish pilots on F-35 fighters at an airbase in the US state of Arizona.

US acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan last week said he sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar informing him of Washington’s decision to pull Turkey out of the F-35 programme.