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Turkey’s move to buy S-400 anti-aircraft system from Russia is due to America's refusal to sell Ankara Patriots, Erdogan explains

Turkey’s move to buy S-400 anti-aircraft system from Russia is due to America's refusal to sell Ankara Patriots, Erdogan explains
Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems has nothing to do with undermining NATO, but was the logical result of Washington refusing to allow Ankara to purchase the American-made analog, the Patriot system.

That’s according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who told The New York Times that Ankara has the right to choose who to buy arms from.

“We buy our own weapons,” Erdogan said, explaining that both the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, and former President Donald J. Trump had backed Turkey’s right to make its own choices. However, had Washington sold Turkey a Patriot missile defense system, Erdogan “would not have had to buy S-400s,” he explained.

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Like the Patriot, the S-400 is a mobile anti-aircraft weapon system, once described by The Economist as “one of the best” currently in production.

Despite being a member of the US-led NATO military bloc, Turkey has looked to Russia on many occasions for support. Moscow and Ankara have a complicated relationship marked both by regular disagreements and cooperation. For example, despite the sale of S-400s, they are currently on opposite sides of the Syrian civil war, where Moscow has backed President Bashar Assad.

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On Wednesday, Erdogan met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, on the Black Sea coast. Just a few days prior, the Turkish leader told journalists in Istanbul that he was looking to build ties with Moscow after disappointing talks with US President Joe Biden at the UN.

“In the discussions with Mr. Biden that I’d been anticipating, there wasn’t the desired outcome,” he said. “As two NATO countries, we need to be at a different point.”

In particular, Erdogan accused Washington of not doing enough to battle terrorism.

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