Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the acquisition of the S-400 anti-aircraft systems from Russia was due to the refusal of the United States to supply it with Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM).
If the Americans had sold the Patriot missile defense system to Turkey, he “would not have had to buy the S-400,” he said in The New York Times interview.
Asked if this deal with Russia was worth the friction with the United States that arose as a result, Erdogan replied: “I think it was worth it. We can strengthen our defenses the way we want.”
He rejected suggestions that the acquisition of the S-400, capable of shooting down NATO aircraft, weakened the North Atlantic alliance.
According to him, “we have the right to buy our own weapons,” saying that both NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and then US President Donald Trump confirmed Turkey’s right to choose weapons suppliers independently.
Erdogan gave an interview, published on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the last session of the UN General Assembly.
At a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Erdogan had said, “There is a well-known person who asked some questions during the UN General Assembly. We gave them the necessary answers.” However, he did not specify what he meant.
“There are steps that we have already taken, completed, and in this regard, there is no turning back,” he said.
At the meeting, Erdogan proposed to discuss cooperation in the military-industrial complex.
“Another issue that needs to be noted is our joint steps in the military-defense industry. I think it will be useful to talk about this,” he said at the beginning of talks with his Russian counterpart.
Turkey bought from Russia four divisions of S-400 Triumph air defense systems worth $ 2.5 billion. S-400 systems, including missiles.
It was officially reported that Russia offered Turkey to buy other weapons, particularly fourth-generation Su-35 fighters.
Erdogan recently announced in an interview with CBS that Ankara intends to buy another batch of S-400 from Moscow.
“In the future, no one will be able to interfere in the sphere of what defensive systems we acquire, from which country at what level. No one can interfere in this. Only we make such decisions,” Erdogan said.
“Of course, of course, yes,” he answered when asked whether Turkey would buy another batch of S-400s from Russia.
A contract for the supply of an additional batch of S-400s to Turkey may be signed this year, the head of Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev had said earlier.