Trump knows why Turkey needs Russian S-400: President Erdoğan
“Regarding the S-400s, Trump knows Turkey’s concerns, why we needed this system and how we came to this point very well,” Erdoğan told Nikkei newspaper on June 27 in Japan where he will attend the G20 summit and is expected to meet with his American counterpart.
Trump may visit Turkey in July, Erdoğan also said.
“Besides, a visit by Mr. Trump to Turkey in July is being talked about.”
Erdoğan described the purchase of the S-400s is a goods and services procurement for meeting the urgent security needs of Turkey. “In our search for an effective air defense system against the security threats, technology transfer and cost-benefit analysis were priorities for us,” he stated.
The Turkish president reiterated that Ankara would not back down from its purchase of the Russian system and said he had not heard anything from Trump regarding sanctions.
“We have already paid them $1.25 billion for the F-35 project. If they do make such a wrong move, we will take it to the international arbitration court because we will want them to pay us back the money we have spent so far,” he told the newspaper.
“I believe my meeting with U.S. President Trump during the G20 summit will be important for eliminating the deadlock in our bilateral relations and strengthening our cooperation,” he said.
The Turkish leader said his meeting with Trump in Japan will review all aspects of the ties between the two countries. “We will also review the developments in the north of Syria,” he noted.
No impression of sanctions
Before departing for Japan, Erdoğan on June 26 said ties between Ankara and Washington are based on a strategic partnership and he did not get an indication from Trump that sanctions are imminent.
Erdoğan said: “I don’t know if NATO countries began to impose sanctions on each other. I did not receive this impression during my meeting with Trump.”
U.S. officials have urged Turkey to buy U.S. Patriot missiles, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.
Touching upon Greek Cypriots’ unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdoğan noted that everyone who lives on Cyprus island has a right to the sea. “We cannot agree if you [the Greek side] say ‘we will bring it under control of southern Cyprus.’”
Turkey’s stance is based on a win-win [concerning the Eastern Mediterranean] and that the other party should also treat Turkey with the same fairness, he added.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying the Turkish Cypriots who have lived on the island of Cyprus for hundreds of years also have rights to the natural resources of the area.
Two Turkish-flagged drillships, the Fatih and the Yavuz, launched offshore drilling operations this year in a 75-kilometer (42-nautical-mile) area off the island’s western coast.
The area falls entirely within the Turkish continental shelf - registered with the UN and under permit licenses the Turkish government in previous years granted to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation, the country’s national oil company.
Turkey wants energy to serve as an incentive for a political resolution on the island and peace in the wider Mediterranean basin rather than a catalyst for further tensions.
Speaking on developments in Syria, Erdoğan said: “The U.S. did not keep its promise on Manbij. Ninety percent of Manbij belongs to Arabs.
“There are invaders in Manbij. Turkey wants them to be withdrawn to east of the Euphrates. And they [the United States] promise us that,” he said, referring to the Manbij deal between Ankara and Washington.
The Manbij deal focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region, which is located in the northern part of Syria’s Aleppo province. PKK is listed as a terror organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Turkey has repeatedly raised security concerns after the announced troop withdrawal, saying the pullout would give room to the PYD/YPG to expand operations.