Sunday 25 August 2019

'It is out of the question for us to take a step back' - Erdogan committed to defence deal with Russia


Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: Murad Sezer
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: Murad Sezer

Dominic Evans

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that it was out of the question for Turkey to take a step back from its deal with Moscow to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

Mr Erdogan also said an offer from the United States to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey was not as good as the Russian offer.

"There is a certain step that we took, there is an agreement here and we are committed to it," Mr Erdogan said of the deal with Moscow.

"It is out of the question for us to take a step back."

Turkey's deal to buy the Russian S-400s, which could be delivered within weeks, has alarmed Washington and Turkey's other Western Nato allies, who say the Russian system is incompatible with Nato's defence network and poses a threat to US F-35 fighter jets that Turkey also plans to buy.

Mr Erdogan said Turkey had offered to set up groups with the US to work together on the issue, without saying what Washington's response had been. He also said Turkey had also been discussing a US offer to sell Patriot missiles.

"However, unfortunately the US side has not given us an offer as good as the S-400s," he said.

Meanwhile, a statement by US President Donald Trump asserting that Russia had removed "most of their people" from Venezuela does not correspond to reality and military co-operation continues, Interfax agency cited a source as saying, adding Russia was continuing to support Venezuela.

Irish Independent

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