A lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said Turkey is done with discussions over its Russian S-400 air defense system, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Friday.
Akif Çağatay Kılıç, who is also head of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, on Friday underlined while speaking to reporters in the parliament that Turkey had already purchased the Russian system and that the deal has been concluded.
“We’re done talking about this issue. We already took this step [of purchasing the S-400s]. But it doesn’t mean that we failed to fulfill our responsibilities and obligations to NATO,” Kılıç said.
He added that Turkey purchased the S-400 system to ensure its safety and without violating any international treaties.
Earlier this week Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoğlu said in remarks on state broadcaster TRT Haber that it wasn’t possible for Ankara to accept calls from Washington to not use the Russian air defense system.
“The S-400s will be 100 percent under our control. We’ve sent many technicians [to Russia] for training. The Russian military experts won’t stay in Turkey,” the minister said.
Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s in 2017 triggered sanctions for violating the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which mandates penalties for transactions deemed harmful to US interests.
Along with Ankara’s other NATO partners, Washington argues that the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and NATO’s broader defense systems. Turkey, however, rejects this and says the S-400s will not be integrated into NATO.
The White House removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program in 2019 over concerns that the Turkish government’s decision to enter into a missile defense relationship with Moscow would compromise the security of the program’s sensitive cutting-edge technology.
The issue of the S-400s is expected to come up during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s upcoming meeting with the US President Joe Biden, which will take place June 14 on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels.