Erdogan defends missile system purchase from Russia

ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved to justify Turkey’s purchase of a Russian-made S-400 missile defence system, a day after its Nato ally the United States voiced concerns over the deal.
Russia and Turkey have signed a contract for Ankara to purchase the Russian-made S-400 missile defence system, the Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday.
Erdogan was earlier quoted by local media as saying that his country had put down a deposit for the advanced missile system.
“They have gone mad because we signed an S-400 deal there. So what are we going to wait for you,” Erdogan told a meeting on Wednesday in Ankara where he addressed mayors from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“We will take matters into our own hands,” he added.
Erdogan’s remarks follow a statement from the US State Department on Tuesday which voiced concerns over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian missile system.
“If Turkey were to buy these S-400s, as is being reported… that would of course be a concern of ours,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday.
“What matters for Nato is that the equipment allies acquire is able to operate together… No Nato ally currently operates the S-400,” a Nato official said on Tuesday.
Some media reports have said the deal could be worth up to $2.5 billion.
A previous Turkish effort to buy a Chinese missile defence system was not successful in part over disagreements on knowledge transfer.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday called on Turkey to stop insulting EU member states by comparing their leaders to fascists and Nazis.
Over the last year, as the diplomatic relations between Germany and Turkey have deteriorated, the rhetoric has become more venomous.
“Insults create roadblocks,” Junker said during his state of the union speech, speaking in German.
“Sometimes I get the feeling Turkey is intentionally placing these roadblocks so that it can blame Europe for any breakdown in accession talks.” — Agencies