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Trump Defense Chief Cautions Turkey Over Russia Missile Purchase

  • Shanahan says S-400 system and F-35 jet are ‘incompatible’
  • Former Boeing executive says his job is to ‘get stuff done’
A Russian S-400 medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile system.

A Russian S-400 medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile system.

Photographer: -/AFP via Getty Images

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Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said he’s working to persuade Turkey to drop plans to buy a Russian missile defense system, saying that would imperil prospects to sell the NATO ally the next-generation F-35 jet it’s helping to build.

Shanahan has spoken with his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, five times since becoming acting defense secretary on Jan. 1, he said in an interview Thursday in his Pentagon office. While some of those talks have centered on Syria policy as President Donald Trump seeks a “significant” drawdown of U.S. forces there, Shanahan said the S-400 missile defense system has also been a key topic.