By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Turkey to abandon Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, the U.S. State Department said in a statement issued after Blinken met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Brussels.
“Secretary Blinken urged Turkey not to retain the Russian S-400 air defense system,” the statement said.
The two NATO allies have long been at odds over the S-400. Washington suspended Turkey from its F-35 stealth fighter jet program last year after its purchase of the missile defense system.
Ankara signed the S-400 deal with Moscow in 2017, pointing to its security needs for purchasing the Russian system.
Blinken and Cavusoglu also touched upon efforts to improve tense relations between alliance members Turkey and Greece.
“The secretary voiced support for ongoing exploratory talks between NATO allies Turkey and Greece,” it said.
Blinken “expressed concern over Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, and emphasized the importance of democratic institutions and respect for human rights,” the statement said.
It added that the two also discussed shared interests in Syria and Afghanistan.
For his part, Cavusoglu said his talks with Blinken were held in a constructive atmosphere and that they agreed to hold a more comprehensive meeting in Turkey or the United States.
But Cavusoglu added that he told Blinken that Ankara’s purchase of S-400 systems was “a done deal.”
Turkish officials have said the systems will not be integrated into NATO’s defense infrastructure.
Deliveries of the first four missile batteries began in July 2019.