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Turkish army completes preparations for military operation east of Euphrates

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US suspends F-35 delivery to Turkey over Russian missile system

The US is at an inflexion point in a years-long standoff with Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, after failing to sway President Tayyip Erdogan that buying a Russian air defence system would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft.

Vice President Mike Pence warned Turkey against going ahead with its planned purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile system, hours after the Turkish foreign minister said the acquisition was "a done deal". Senior US politicians said they cautioned Mr Cavusoglu that deepening ties with Moscow "will risk sanctions and Turkey's involvement in the F-35 programme".

Turkey's foreign minister, however, appeared unmoved by the US threats, saying that buying the Russian S-400 system "is a done deal".

In an effort to keep Turkey from buying Russian-made weapons, the State Department in December approved the potential sale of the Patriot missile system and related equipment to the country for $3.5 billion.

Deliveries of F-35A Joint Strike Fighters for the Turkish pilot training program continue, despite the halt of equipment shipments to Turkey.

He reiterated the US concerns about Turkey's procurement of Russian S-400 surface to air missile system.

Turkey has engaged with U.S. negotiators in recent days about buying the Patriot system, a person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

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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.

While US lawmakers have threatened in the past to block the delivery of the fighter jets to Turkey, the decision this week was the first concrete move from the Pentagon to do so.

The Trump administration has made great strides in recent months to transform the cash-strapped and perpetually ailing North Atlantic Treaty Organization into a viable global military force that has the capabilities to confront Russian Federation and other rogue regimes allied with terror forces. "Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?"

Turkey expressed irritation with the State Department Wednesday over its description of a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu earlier this week. The United States has done all of that and more - well more than our fair share. Sources familiar with the F-35's intricate worldwide production process and the United States thinking on the issue last week said Turkey's role can be replaced.

Last week, Sens. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland.; and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., introduced legislation over concern Turkey's planned S-400 purchase would pose a risk to US national security.

"The radar is an electronic intelligence collection platform", said Aaron Stein, director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Middle East program.

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