Erdogan: Turkey doesn’t need anyone’s permission to buy Russian S-400s
Ankara doesn’t need permission from anyone to purchase Russian S-400 missile systems, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, days after the US warned the country against buying the hotly discussed air-defense system.
“We have made S-400 deal with Russia. Someone is offended by it. We don't need permission from anybody,” the Turkish leader said at the Turkey-Kyrgyzstan Business Forum in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on Saturday.
On Tuesday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis warned Turkey, a sovereign state and NATO member, against buying the systems. “Turkey had a choice to make, a sovereign decision to make. But clearly Turkey bringing a Russian anti-aircraft, anti-missile system into a NATO country, we cannot integrate that into NATO,” Mattis said. “Yes, it does concern us and we do not recommend that.”
Ankara and Washington are not locking horns over Turkey’s decision to buy Russian S-400 missile systems, although neither the US nor NATO approves of the move. Erdogan’s government is also adamant on pushing ahead with the purchase of American F-35 jets, which US lawmakers are trying to block due to Ankara’s S-400 deal.
The US relationship with Turkey is hitting new lows every time Washington announces a new round of sanctions against its longstanding NATO ally. The two states have been at odds over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey.
Sanctions against two Turkish top ministers and the doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkish exports – are the most recent developments in the stand-off between the countries. The pressure created by Washington against its NATO ally sparked a currency crisis in Turkey with the lira plummeting to a record low against the dollar.
Erdogan’s statement shows that Turkey is shaping its defense policy without any regard to the US, Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine, told RT. For Turkey, the purchase of these weapons means getting “a new geopolitical status of a country” that is able to fully control its airspace and, if necessary, use such weapons against its enemies, he said.
The US understands Turkey’s intentions and that’s why it has recently showed “unprecedented attempts” to intimidate the country, Korotchenko added.
The recent statement of the Turkish president is “an attempt to strengthen [Ankara’s] positions” in the international arena, Dmitry Abzalov, head of the Center for Strategic Communications think tank, explained to RT, noting that relations between Ankara and Washington have “seriously deteriorated.”
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