U.S. to Europe on NATO: Washington is more than Donald Trump

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, in Washington for the 70th anniversary of the Western alliance and a meeting of its foreign ministers, told Reuters in an interview he had spoken several times with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan about the S-400 issue and had discussed it in a meeting with Trump on Tuesday.

Cavusoglu said Turkey turned to Russian Federation as it could not buy US Patriot missiles and quoted President Donald Trump as saying in an unspecified phone call that his predecessor Barack Obama had made a "mistake" not to sell the system to Ankara.

Under the Trump administration, Russian Federation will not be permitted to force its priorities on member states, Pence said.

"We need to take stock of our critical vulnerabilities, of the impact of external investments on our critical infrastructure", she said.

In a PBS Newshour interview broadcast on Wednesday, Cavusoglu said Ankara proposed "to form a technical working group and to examine" any United States concerns over the S-400s.

Acting Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers told reporters during a briefing Thursday that the base's pilot training program for Turkey is ongoing.

But a deepening dispute with Turkey over its planned purchase of a Russian air defence system and USA demands for allies, particularly Germany, to boost their defence spending threatened to overshadow the proceedings.

Grushko noted that Russian Federation has taken "unprecedented transparency measures" to prove it has not violated the treaty, while NATO ignored Moscow's legitimate concerns regarding many years of violations of the treaty by the United States.

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Meanwhile, Russia and Turkey remain in talks over the delivery date for S-400 parts, originally slated for May. Earlier this week, Washington halted delivery to Turkey of equipment related to the stealth F-35 fighter aircraft because of the missile defense disagreement.

Despite the rising tensions, the United States continues to proceed with Turkish training on the F-35 in hopes that Ankara may come around on the S-400.

Britons were nearly equal in the urge to protect as Americans, but opinion was an "even split" on whether to defend Turkey, while the French were more willing to defend the USA and others apart from the Ukraine, Turkey, and Romania.

The training for Turkish pilots in the US for the F-35 fighter jet project is continuing, said the official.

Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan is showing no signs of yielding to the United States.

"It is as important for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as it is for us", State Department Director of Policy Planning Kiron Skinner told reporters this week. Turkey has shown interest in the Patriot, but not at the expense of abandoning the S-400.

"Turkey was on board the F-35 program from day one", says Loren Thompson, CEO of the Lexington Institute, a public policy think tank that receives some of its funding from F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Two additional jets are scheduled to arrive in Arizona in April and a significant delay could impact Turkey's November target date for operations.

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