US approves $3.5 billion Patriot missile sale to Turkey

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(Washington) – The United States said it approved the sale of $3.5 billion in missiles to Turkey, offering an ultimatum after US outrage over the NATO ally’s plans to buy from Russia.

The State Department said it had informed Congress of plans to sell Turkey a Patriot package that includes 80 Patriot missiles, and 60 PAC-3 missile interceptors and related equipment.

“The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of the Turkey military to guard against hostile aggression and shield NATO allies who might train and operate within Turkey”s borders,” a statement said.

Ankara a year ago announced a deal to purchase rival S-400 missiles from Russia, drawing a rebuke from its allies in NATO — a group originally formed as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.

A State Department official said that Turkey was jeopardizing participation in another US military program, the coveted F-35 fighter jets, if Turkey still went ahead with the S-400 sale.