Russian S-400 system done deal, says Erdoğan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said plans to buy the Russian S-400 missile system is a “done deal” during a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow. “If we sign a deal on an issue, that’s a done deal,” Erdoğan the press conference on April 8.
Turkish and Russian leaders met in Moscow in the latest of a series of summits aiming to boost the bilateral relations and the trade volume between the two countries.
“On the issue of the S-400s, we have determined our road map, we have taken steps,” Erdoğan said. “Those who tell us to give up our plans, those who make recommendations do not know us. If we sign a deal on an issue, that’s a done deal. This is our sovereign right, this is our decision.”
Putin described the S-400 contract as a top priority in cooperation between the two countries, adding that other weapons deals are in the making.
Turkey decided in 2017 to purchase the S-400 system following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success.
The U.S. announced April 1 that it would be suspending all “deliveries and activities” related to Turkey’s procurement of the F-35 stealth fighter jet over Ankara’s plans to purchase Russia’s S-400 system.
U.S. officials have suggested that Turkey should buy U.S. Patriot missiles rather than the Russian system, arguing the S-400 is incompatible with NATO systems.
Erdoğan also said on April 8 that Turkey and Russia both want to eliminate terrorists from Idlib, a region in northwestern Syria near Turkish borders.
“Ankara will never allow [the presence of] an entity that poses a threat to Turkish and Syrian territorial integrity,” Erdoğan said.
Ankara continues to take measures on Idlib since it is a “sensitive issue for Turkey,” the Turkish president said.
“On the basis of our common understanding with Russia, we are determined to dismantle the terrorism from Syria that threatens our national security.”
He stressed that Idlib must be completely cleared of terrorism for people to return safely to their homes.
“To date we have taken the steps we should take in Idlib, and we will continue to do so. Because retreat is impossible.”
Erdoğan also said that both countries are determined to eliminate the terror threats near Turkey’s borders, adding that the PKK and the YPG pose a threat like ISIL.
Turkey views YPG as a terrorist group for its ties to outlawed PKK, which listed as a terror group by Ankara, the United States and Europe.