Turkey’s presidential spokesperson on Monday responded to criticism that Ankara was moving away from the West amid a row over its purchase of Russian S-400 missiles, urging the US and European allies to seriously address Turkey’s security concerns, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
In an op-ed for Bloomberg, İbrahim Kalın said the accusations against Turkey include President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s alleged authoritarianism and Ankara undermining the NATO alliance.
“These charges are baseless. They point to a profound failure of understanding and a deliberate dismissal of Turkey’s legitimate security concerns, the regional dynamics in which it operates and the larger geopolitical realities,” Kalın wrote.
“The claim that Turkey is no longer a reliable NATO ally is groundless,” said Kalın, adding that Turkey plays a crucial role in all major NATO missions, from Kosovo and Bosnia to Lebanon and Afghanistan.
Last week Washington announced it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program, following its threats to do so over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 system.
“Alliance does not mean monopoly: it does not mean some members are free to impose their agenda on others,” said Kalın. “NATO cannot function properly when the security concerns of all members are not taken seriously. Turkey is no exception.”
On Tuesday US President Donald Trump will meet with Republican senators at the White House to discuss potential sanctions on Turkey over the S-400 purchase, The Washington Post reported.
“The Russian air defense system became not a choice but a necessity for Turkey,” Kalın said.