Alwaght-An assertive Turkey has defied United States threats over the purchase of Russia's advanced S-400 missile system.
US Vice President Mike Pence warned Turkey on Wednesday that it could risk its membership in NATO if it goes ahead with plans to buy a Russian air defense system despite widespread international opposition.
Speaking at a NATO 70th anniversary event in Brussels, Pence said Turkey risks expulsion from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, which could cripple Turkish manufacturers who are making parts for the aircraft. And he raised the possibility of much broader repercussions.
"Turkey must choose," Pence said. "Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in the history of the world or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?"
Turkey's Vice President Fuad Oktay replied on Twitter saying that "The United States must choose" about whether to remain allied with Ankara. He raised the contentious relationship of US support for Kurdish forces in Syria, accusing Washington of "joining forces with terrorists".
Other US officials have stopped short of threatening Turkey's underlying relationship with the US or NATO over the S-400 purchase, but there have been growing calls for swift action to try to stop the deal, including possible sanctions against Ankara.
Turkey's foreign minister, however, appeared unmoved by the US threats, saying that buying the Russian S-400 system "is a done deal. We will not step back from this."
The row over the F-35 and the S-400 is the latest in a series of diplomatic disputes between Ankara and Washington.
"We’ve also made it clear that we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries that threaten the cohesion of our alliance," Pence said.
Turkey has said the S-400 Triumph air defense system will be delivered by Russia despite the US pressure on the NATO member.