Ahead of Trump meeting, Erdogan threatens to buy Russian jets

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands following talks in Sochi on Oct. 22, 2019. Alexei Druzhinin / Kremlin via Reuters file

The possibility of Turkey, a NATO ally, acquiring more military equipment from Putin adds a new dimension to the controversy around Trump’s decision to give Erdogan the prestigious platform of a White House meeting. The president is already facing push back from lawmakers who are opposed to the meeting due to the recent Turkish offensive in Syria and Erdogan’s purchase of the S-400 Russian missile defense system, for which they have unsuccessfully pressured Trump to sanction Turkey.

Erdogan signaled last week in public remarks that he could buy the Russian fighter jets, but people familiar with the discussions said the Turkish leader may back off if Trump lifts the F-35 ban.

Turkey’s purchase of Russian fighter jets — or Trump’s lifting of the F-35 embargo — would undoubtedly spark more backlash in Congress after months of calls for new U.S. sanctions against Turkey from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Erdogan’s pursuit of additional Russian military equipment suggests he feels emboldened after Trump’s refusal to sanction Turkey over its purchase of the S-400.

Article URL : https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/ahead-trump-meeting-erdogan-threatens-buy-russian-jets-n1080721

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