Turkey’s ultra-nationalist party leader on Sunday said Turkey is the only authority that will decide on the planned purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems, and it is not United States’ colony, pro-government newspaper Hürriyet reported.
“If Turkey wants to buy S-400s, it will buy them. This is a done deal. And Turkey is the only decisive authority on this matter. Our country is neither colony of the United States, nor its state,” Hürriyet quoted Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as saying in an event in Istanbul.
The far-right leader previously said Turkey should question its NATO membership and all other international ties in relation to a recent dispute with Washington over Ankara’s decision to buy Russian S-400 missile systems.
Tensions between Washington and Ankara have simmered over Ankara’s planned purchase of the S-400s.
Washington says the purchase will jeopardise Turkey’s role in the F-35 fighter jet programme and has threatened the latter with sanctions. Last week, the Acting U.S. Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, which said Turkey would be removed from the F-35 programme by July 31, if it went ahead with plans to buy Russian S-400 batteries.
Turkey has not responded officially to Shanahan’s deadline, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said this week that Ankara’s deal with Moscow for the purchase of S-400 missile defence systems was completed.