Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed a tough stance on the US’s opposition to Turkey’s purchase of military equipment from Russia on the 6th, saying that it will not abandon the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system purchase agreement, and may purchase more advanced S -500 system.
[“Do not eat words”]
Erdogan said in an interview with Channel 24 on the same day that it would be “immoral” to abandon the agreement with Russia to purchase the S-400 air defense system.
”Everything has been negotiated and an agreement has been reached, from loan conditions to joint production, the agreement has been signed. There is no turning back, otherwise it is immoral,” Erdogan said. “No one can let Turkey eat.”
Erdogan hopes that Russia will deliver the first batch of S-400 systems in July this year; after the former served in the Turkish army, Turkey “may also reach an agreement with Russia on the S-500 system.”
The S-400 is a Russian-made fourth-generation air defense missile system. It was installed in the Russian army in 2007 and is capable of intercepting and destroying air and space attack weapons. The S-500 is a new generation of high-altitude long-range air defense missile system that can destroy ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, hypersonic weapons, low-Earth orbit satellites and various types of aircraft. It has a range of 600 kilometers and its performance surpasses that of the S-400. The system, that is, the “Sade” performance is similar, it is expected to be installed in the Russian army in 2020.
Interpretation by the international media, this remark is intended to respond to the dissatisfaction shown by the United States on the S-400 military purchase. Turkey signed an S-400 system purchase agreement with Russia in 2017, which caused dissatisfaction with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies such as the United States. The reason for this is that the Russian weapon system is incompatible with the NATO system.
The United States has repeatedly “battered” Turkey, saying that if the S-400 system is insisted on, the US will not only stop selling the “Patriot” air defense missile system to Turkey, but the delivery of the F-35 fighter will also be affected. The US will also reassess Turkey. Is it eligible to continue to participate in the F-35 program?
Turkey joined the US-initiated F-35 fighter joint research and development project in 2002 and was qualified to purchase this single-seat single-engine stealth fighter.
[“Do not accept”]
In an interview, Erdogan mentioned the establishment of a “safe area” in northern Syria. He said that the “safe area” is not accepted to be handed over to countries outside Turkey.
Turkey previously proposed to set up a 32-kilometer “safe area” controlled by the Turkish army in northern Syria to prevent and combat Syrian Kurdish armed forces. This area is currently controlled by the Syrian Kurdish “People’s Protection Force”.
The Syrian Kurdish armed forces are the most dependent ally of the US military in Syria to fight against the extremist organization “Islamic State”. The Turkish side regards this armed group as the anti-government organization PKK in the Syrian branch, demarcating the two as terrorist organizations and threatening many times. Cross-border into the northeast of Syria to fight the Kurdish armed forces there.
The Russian and Syrian governments oppose Turkey’s establishment of a “safe zone” and find that this move violates Syria’s sovereignty.
Erdogan said that Turkey pays close attention to the withdrawal of the United States from Syria, but the United States has not made any specific moves so far.