Turkey Needs More Air Defense Systems: Foreign Minister
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday in addition to Russian S-400 air-defense system, Turkey needs more systems.
The S-400 battery alone is not enough, Turkey needs new and additional air defense systems, Cavusoglu said in a joint news conference with his Somali counterpart Ahmed Issa Awad in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
He also reiterated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s earlier remarks that Turkey can purchase Patriot missiles, if the US guarantees it.
Responding to the criticism on Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 air-defense system, Cavusoglu said a product is not purchased for storage purpose, and that Turkey needs the system, Anadolu Agency reported.
Saying that the S-400 issue was mentioned during Erdogan’s recent visit to Washington, he said this is one of the issues that negatively affect Turkey-US relations.
Ankara received its first Russian S-400 missiles in July. The delivery of the first battery was completed on July 25, and of the second batch started in August.
In April 2017, when its protracted efforts to buy an air defense system from the US proved fruitless, Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire the S-400 anti-missile shield.
Opposing deployment of the Russian system, US officials argued that they would be incompatible with NATO systems and would expose its F-35 jets to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems, and posed no threat to the alliance or its armaments.
Turkey also proposed a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the US has failed to respond.
Turkey has rebuffed suggestions from US leaders that it leave the Russian S-400 system unactivated in order to avoid possible US sanctions.
The S-400 is seen as one of the most advanced missile systems in the world, capable of tracking several targets simultaneously.