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Washington gives Turkey ultimatum: Russian weapons or North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership

Washington gives Turkey ultimatum: Russian weapons or North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership

Vice-President Mike Pence had delivered the same warning, noting that the US and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members had grave concerns about the S-400 as it is not interoperable with alliance systems. We suggested purchasing the Patriot [systems] from the U.S., but the United States failed to offer us any suitable terms.

The Russian S-400 missile defense system during a Victory Day military parade in Moscow's Red Square, May 9, 2017.

"I concur with this committee's belief that the S-400 and the F-35 are not compatible, and if Turkey proceeds down a path to procure and operate the S-400, they should not get the F-35", Wolters said, adding that the Russian system "speaks a different language than NATO English".

Hours before foreign ministers from the 29-member Western alliance opened talks in Washington with a leisurely reception, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a stinging rebuke both to Germany over its level of defense spending and to Turkey for buying a major arms system from Russian Federation.

The US believes that Turkey's purchase of the S-400 would be a threat to US F-35 fighter jets.

The U.S. has suspended the delivery of parts and program materials to Turkey it needs for "standing-up" a key $12 billion jet fighter program there.

"We need to take stock of our critical vulnerabilities, of the impact of external investments on our critical infrastructure", she said. Last month, 31 lawmakers sent a letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee pushing for legislative language blocking federal funds from being used to help transfer F-35s to Turkey unless the secretary of state certifies that Ankara isn't moving ahead with the S4-400 deal.

"All NATO allies made a pledge to invest more in defense to improve burden-sharing in our alliance, and I expect all allies, including Germany, of course, to make good on the pledge we made together", the NATO secretary general said.

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"This issue with the S-400 is a very serious issue", the Pentagon's spokesman Charlie Summers told reporters on Thursday.

Turkey, however, remains a problem, Pence said in some of the administration's clearest remarks on the impasse with Ankara.

The high turnout for Turkey's municipal elections on Sunday is a lesson in democracy for the whole world, the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated.

Turkey could be sanctioned by Washington under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which rules that any entity doing business with Russia's state and private defense and intelligence sectors risks sanctions.

She said the U.S. package was designed "to assure that there is a safe passage for Ukrainian vessels through the Kerch Strait".

Despite the U.S. suspension, Erdogan said three F-35 jets had been delivered, though they remain in the US. The base already had two jets belonging to Turkey for the global training program.