The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman reiterated Saturday that Turkey is determined to reinforce its air defense systems as threats continue to arise from Syria, Iraq and eastern Mediterranean.
“Strengthening Turkey’s air defense system is a requirement of national security as a sovereign state,” Omer Celik said at a news conference after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meeting with AK Party lawmakers at the party’s Istanbul branch.
“There should not be any security flaw for Turkey,” Celik said, citing developments in Syria, Iraq, and eastern Mediterranean as threats to Turkey’s national security.
Calling for support of Turkey’s allies over the S-400 issue, Celik said: “The protection of Turkey’s borders is the protection of the borders of NATO and Europe, as well as it is for Turkey’s national security.”
Responding to a question about where the S-400s will be deployed, Celik said: “The system will be deployed in a way to meet Turkey’s need at a maximum level.”
U.S. officials urged Turkey to buy U.S. Patriot missiles, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems, expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge, and could trigger sanctions.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.
Turkey, however, emphasized the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
During last week’s G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Erdogan said U.S. President Donald Trump told him there would be no sanctions against Turkey after it received the S-400 defense systems, which are expected to be delivered later in July.
At the summit, Trump blamed the standoff on then-President Barack Obama’s refusal to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey, and said Turkey had not been treated fairly.