Turkey wants to make missiles with Russia: Erdogan
Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 from Russia has raised tensions with Nato with Washington warning Turkey that it will respond with sanctions. Parts of the air-defence system began arriving in Turkey last week.
A 12th plane containing parts landed at the Mürted airbase today (Tuesday) near Ankara.
Formerly known as the Akinci air base (pictured), it was renamed after the botched July 15, 2016, coup attempt by pro-western members of the military. Akinci, where large numbers of Nato personnel were based, was reportedly where many troops who backed the coup were stationed.
“Now our goal is co-producing with Russia. We’ll do this. We’ll go even further,” Erdogan told a rally marking three years since the failed coup.
“The S-400s are the strongest defence system against those who want to attack our country.” The populist president said the S-400 would be fully deployed by April next year.
Erdogan faces a weakened economy, worsening relations with the US – a key ally throughout the Cold War – and a humiliating defeat for his nationalist party in the recent Istanbul mayoral election.
Turkey said the deal with Russia was signed in 2017 following protracted efforts to purchase an air-defence system from the US without success.
The US said the S-400s were incompatible with Nato’s defence networks and could compromise its new F-35 stealth fighter jets, which Turkey is helping to build and was planning to buy. Turkish pilots were recently removed from F-35 training in the US.
Both the F-35 and S-400 have been deployed in neighbouring Syria, leading to US fears about operational compromise for the costly fighter jet.
Turkeyclaims the S-400 will not be integrated into Nato systems and, therefore, will not pose a threat. It has called for a commission to clarify any technical issues. The Turkish media said Washington had failed to respond to Turkey’s proposal.
Turkey could face exclusion from the F-35 programme, which Erdogan has dismissed. Turkey has said that any sanctions would be met in kind.
The US could announce sanctions against Turkey this week, Bloomberg reported.
The S-400. Picture credit: Wikimedia