Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said there is no level playing field when it comes to possession of missiles with nuclear warheads, rejecting pressure on developing countries not to acquire sophisticated weaponry, Bloomberg reported.
Some countries “have missiles with nuclear warheads — not one or two. But I shouldn’t have any missile with nuclear warheads? I do not accept this,” Erdoğan said Wednesday in a speech in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas.
The president’s remarks come at a time when Turkey is in a row with the US over the country’s purchase of an advanced Russian missile defense system, risking sanctions from Washington. Erdoğan said he needs the Russian arms for defense purposes and would buy the equivalent American missile defenses if they are offered on similar terms.
Turkey has long maintained that it urgently needs air defense systems to meet imminent security threats, mainly emanating from the civil war in neighboring Syria. On Wednesday Erdoğan also said Israel is using its nuclear warhead arsenal to threaten others.