Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday repeated earlier warnings that the United States would not look at all favorably on Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 air- and missile-defense systems a day after Ankara blew off the first of two deadlines to end the deal.
Speaking to attendees at the Munich Security Conference, the VP said the Trump administration “will not stand by idly while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries.
“We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East,” he added.
Pence’s comments come after Germany continues moving ahead with plans earlier this month to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia that the U.S. also opposes.
As for the S-400, Washington had established a Feb. 15 deadline for Ankara to indicate its intention to stop the sale, according to a U.S. military official who spoke to Military Times. If Turkey refuses to do so, a forthcoming sale of the U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system would be stopped.
“We have been clear with Turkey,” the U.S. official said. “The will not receive the Patriot if they purchase the S-400.”
The Patriot sale, valued at about $3.5 billion, covers the purchase of 80 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced and 60 PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles and associated gear.
In addition to ratcheting up tensions with the U.S. and NATO, to which Turkey is a long-standing member, the purchase of the S-400 would also likely endanger Ankara’s participation in the international development of the F-35, the fifth-generation Joint Strike Fighter program.
Turkey sources some parts for the fighter and its development could be hampered if the U.S. ditches Turkey as a partner.
As for the Nord Stream pipeline, some U.S. analysts believe that Germany is seeking to diversify its natural gas supplies and that it intends to also purchase U.S.-produced LNG at some point.
President Trump has criticized Germany’s partnership with Russia on the project, saying the deal makes it ludicrous for Washington to continue spending so much money on helping Germany itself and Europe against Moscow, which remains an adversary.
Still, as Reuters reports, Germany will consider changes laws governing the Nord Stream 2 in order to ensure that it complies with new European Union regulations, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Reuters on Friday.
“My assumption is that it can be built under the new conditions,” he said. “But there will clearly be some changes. One regarding the ownership of the pipeline, since European law requires ownership of pipeline and production to be separated.”