Russian S-400 missile battalions are taking part in tactical training to counter attacks by potential sabotage and reconnaissance groups.
Vitaly Nevar | TASS via Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The Biden government has been unable to work out a solution with Turkey following the defiant purchase of a Russian weapons system by Ankara, which the NATO alliance regards as a security risk.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on a phone call Thursday that President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were discussing the multi-billion dollar arms deal with Russia from 2017 at NATO headquarters this week.
In December, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Turkey, a NATO member, for purchasing the S-400 missile system in a confrontation not normally seen within the Alliance.
“They discussed it with the S-400. There was no solution to the problem. There was a commitment to continue the dialogue on the S-400, "Sullivan said, adding that the Biden administration would have more to say on the matter after Washington and Ankara hold further talks.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and US President Joe Biden (R) will meet on June 14, 2021 at the NATO summit at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels.
Murat Cetinmuhurdar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
During a NATO press conference, Erdogan said he had not changed his position on the S-400 despite a "sincere" meeting with Biden.
Biden also said the meeting with Erdogan was productive, adding that it was confident that the US will "make real progress with Turkey".
According to a report by Turkish state media, Erdogan said Thursday that he had told Biden not to "expect Turkey to take another step on the F-35 and S-400 issues".
"We have to monitor developments closely. We will all pursue our rights," he said. "In the next period, our foreign ministers, defense ministers and defense industry leaders will be driving this process forward by meeting with their counterparts," added Erdogan.
To deter Turkey from buying Russia's S-400 missile system, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered to sell the country's Patriot missile system in 2013 and 2017. Ankara handed over the Patriot both times because the US refused to transfer the system's sensitive missile technology.
An F-35 fighter jet is seen as Turkey accepts its first F-35 fighter jet with a ceremony at Lockheed Martin in Forth Worth, Texas, USA on June 21, 2018.
Atilgan Özdil | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, any foreign government working with the Russian defense sector is in the crosshairs of US economic sanctions.
Despite warnings from the US and other NATO allies, Turkey accepted the first of four S-400 missile batteries from the Kremlin in July 2019.
A week later, the US is removing Turkey, a finance and manufacturing partner, from the F-35 program.
Due to Turkey's removal from the F-35 program, US defense giant Lockheed Martin offered the jets originally intended for Ankara's arsenal to other customers.
Correction: Erdogan said Thursday that he had told Biden that he should "not expect Turkey to take another step on the F-35 and S-400 issues," according to a report by the Turkish state media. An earlier version incorrectly stated the day.