April 19, 2019 - 16:58 AMT
Turkey says "taking into account" NATO concerns over S-400

Turkey is "taking into account" NATO concerns over its Russian missile deal, the country's foreign minister said in more conciliatory remarks over a purchase stoking tensions between Washington and Ankara, Al Jazeera reports.

The two NATO allies have argued for months over Turkey's order for the advanced S-400 missile defence batteries, which Washington says are incompatible with the Western alliance's defence network and would pose a threat to US F-35 stealth fighter jets which Turkey also plans to buy.

"We are taking into account NATO's concerns. It is not right to say Turkey is not considering them," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference in Ankara on Friday.

His remarks followed a visit by Turkey's defence minister to Washington and a meeting between US President Donald Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law at the White House, where they discussed the S-400 deal, local media reported.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several prominent US senators have warned Turkey that it would face penalties for buying the S-400s under legislation which calls for sanctions against countries procuring military equipment from Russia.

Turkey says as a NATO member it poses no threat to the US and the sanctions should not apply.

Resolving the dispute could allow the two governments to turn the corner on years of tense relations. The stakes are higher for Turkey, which is mired in recession after a separate US diplomatic dispute last year sparked a currency crisis that has echoed in recent weeks as ties have again frayed.

Two months before the first batch of S-400s could arrive in Turkey, a team of senior Turkish ministers visited Washington this week for talks aimed at easing the crisis, culminating in an unexpected Oval Office meeting with the president.

Few details of the White House meeting have emerged, but Turkish media quoted Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, son-in-law of President Tayyip Erdogan, as saying Trump had a "positive understanding ... regarding Turkey's needs for the S-400s".