Turkey not seeking ‘alternatives’ to its relations with West: Erdoğan

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C), his wife Emine Erdogan and the chairman of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic (R) salue people during a pre-election rally in Sarajevo on May 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / Kayhan OZER /

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey’s decision to purchase a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system doesn’t mean that it is seeking “alternatives” to its relations with the West.

Erdoğan was speaking Monday during a NATO meeting in Ankara attended by alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

The comments came amid a deepening rift with the United States, which says the Russian missiles pose a threat to the US F-35 fighter jet program, of which Turkey is also a partner.

Erdoğan said Turkey developing ties with “various countries and regions are not an alternative to each other,” adding his objection to “such controversies being fired up over the S-400s.”

Stoltenberg told the state-run Anadolu news agency before his arrival that it was important that NATO allies purchase equipment that is compatible with each other.

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