President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized Turkey’s NATO allies for reacting negatively to Turkey’s decision to purchase an S-400 missile system from Russia and said they have gone crazy, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.
Erdoğan said on Tuesday that Ankara has signed a deal with Russia to buy the S-400 missile defense system despite opposition from NATO allies. He lashed out at those questioning Turkey buying a Russian air defense system and suggested Ankara would make its own decisions on what to buy, regardless of NATO’s wishes.
“They went crazy because we made the S-400 agreement. What were we supposed to do, wait for you? We are taking and will take all our own measures on the security front. There are easier ways of doing it, but of course you cannot talk about everything everywhere. That is why we will take care of ourselves. There is no other alternative,” Erdoğan said on Wednesday in a speech addressing ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayors in Ankara.
Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael said on Tuesday that the US has relayed its concerns to Turkish officials over the purchase of an S-400 air defense system from Russia.
In a written statement to CNBC on Tuesday, Michael said that a NATO inter-operable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in the region and added, “We have relayed our concerns to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400.”
According to AFP, Moscow confirmed the agreement, with Vladimir Kozhin, Putin’s adviser for military and technical cooperation, saying, “The contract has been signed and is being prepared for implementation.”
“The US and Israel made it extremely difficult for us to buy unmanned aerial vehicles from them. And when they did give them to us, their repair and maintenance caused us a lot of headaches. Now this country [Turkey] has reached the point of producing its own UAVs. And they don’t like that,” added Erdoğan, in reference to the domestic production of armed drones.