'US pressures Turkey over independent policy'

AP Photo

Russia's foreign minister on Friday criticized the U.S. putting pressure on Turkey over its decision to buy a Russian S-400 missile defense system.

Speaking at the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow, Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. uses methods of power pressure to make countries fall in line with its policy.

According to him, Washington uses pressure not only against "countries who pursue independent policies" but also against "its closest allies."

"The situation with threats against NATO member Turkey for Ankara's decision to strengthen its defense capacity by purchasing Russian S-400s is an example, there are many others," he said.

Washington has balked at Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400, and last week suspended delivery of parts and services for F-35 fighter jets.

Congressmen and the U.S. vice president have threatened to cancel the F-35 sales over the S-400 deal.

U.S. officials have suggested Turkey buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems and would expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.

Turkey has responded that it was the U.S. refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russia offered it a better deal, including technology transfers.

The S-300 -- a predecessor to the current system -- is used by NATO countries Bulgaria, Greece and Slovakia. Their deals with Russia did not provoke criticism from Washington.

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