ANKARA – After the Pentagon’s latest warning, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revisited the issue of purchasing S-400 surface-to-air missiles hat sparked a rift in US-Turkish relations. He stressed the acquisition of Russian anti-missile systems have “nothing to do” with the security of the United States.
On Friday, the Pentagon further underlined the US stance on Ankara’s decision to move ahead with is purchase, warning that there would be, “serious consequences”, if Turkey concluded its purchase of the S-400 systems.
“If Turkey gets the S-400s, there will be serious consequences that will effect our nations’ relations but also our military relationship,” a spokesman for the US Department of Defense said. “They cannot have both the F-35 fighter jets and the Patriot missiles”, he said.
The delivery of the Russian anti-missile defense systems is expected to begin this summer. It is one of the main issues that await NATO’s allies. Ankara is also scheduled to purchase 100 F-35 fighter jets from the United States.
However, President Erdogan repeated yesterday that his country will not cancel the purchases it has made.
“Everyone knows very well that this issue has nothing to do with NATO, neither with the F-35 program nor with the security of the US,” the Turkish President assured in a speech given to Diyarbakir, a city in Southeast Turkey.
“The issue is not about the S-400,” but the fact that Turkey “takes action with its own will in relation to regional developments, especially in Syria”, he insisted.
“It is clear why Turkey buys this air defense system and how it will be used,” he added.