Speaking at a graduation ceremony of military cadets in northwestern Balikesir province on Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey needed to acquire the Russian S-400 missile defense system and “will get it soon,” the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
Erdoğan said Turkey is pursuing its own interests and striving to achieve its goals “in the face of the efforts of those who try to shape both our country and our region according to their own agenda.”
“We do not regret our decisions,” he added.
Last December Turkey announced it had concluded an agreement with Russia for the purchase of two S-400 systems by early 2020.
This April both parties agreed to early delivery of the systems.
The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system, with the ability to carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.
In June the US Senate passed a bill suspending delivery to Turkey of F-35 jets, citing the S-400 purchase as well as Turkey’s detention of US citizens.
Referring to the row between the US and Turkey after the detention of an American pastor Andrew Brunson, Erdoğan said Turkey’s military and economy were being targeted on the pretext of the Brunson case.
Turkey and the US are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions over the detention of Brunson, who is under house arrest in Turkey on terrorism charges.
Erdoğan said Turkey needed alliances with other nations besides the European countries and the US.
“We know very well what kind of activities those who force us to have a unilateral relationship are carrying out either secretly or publicly all around the world,” he added.