MUNICH — Vice President Mike Pence repeated warnings to Turkey not to proceed with the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, a day after Turkey dismissed the first of two deadlines to cease with the planned sale.
Pence, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, told attendees “we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East."
The U.S. had set a Feb. 15 deadline for Turkey to respond and signal their intentions to cease with the sale, a U.S. official told Military Times. If Turkey refuses, a forthcoming sale of a Patriot missile defense system from the U.S. will be halted.
“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, estimated at $3.5 billion, would cover the procurement of 80 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced and 60 PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles, as well as associated equipment.
The S-400 sale would also impact Turkey’s role in the international development of the fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter.
Earlier this year, the Pentagon reported to Congress on the impact to the F-35 program if it ditches Turkey as a partner. Turkey sources some of the parts for the program and that action could result in delays to the program if Turkey is no longer a contributor.
Congress still has to decide what action to take.
Pence did mention another product from the East it considers a threat, China’s communication network.
“The United States has also been very clear with our security partners on the threats posed by Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies that requires them to provide Beijing’s vast security apparatus with access to any data that touches their network or equipment,” Pence said. "We must protect our critical telecom infrastructure.”
Tara Copp is the Pentagon Bureau Chief for Military Times and author of the award-winning military nonfiction "The Warbird: Three Heroes. Two Wars. One Story."