Turkey gave no promises about not installing or not using the S-400s: Minister
“We have no commitment to anyone that we will not install or use the S-400. We purchased it because we needed an air defense system. Is an air defense system taken to keep it in the box?” Çavuşoğlu told reporters at the parliament.
Only one anti-missile defense battery remained in southern Turkey, the minister said citing the NATO mission aiming to protect Turkish territory from the attacks derived from Syria.
He recalled the U.S., the Netherlands and Germans withdrew their systems in Turkey, only Spain extended their mission. “We purchased this [S-400] because we need it,” he said. Çavuşoğlu reminded reporters of a proposal made by Ankara to establish a joint committee in order to examine the alleged impacts of using S-400s to F-35 fighter jets.
“If the United States is serious in its claims and wants to approach the issue in this way, it should say ‘yes’ for the working group of experts and evaluate them,” he said.
“Otherwise, we are not a country that will change a decision or make a decision just because a state asked for it,” the minister stated.
Washington has told Ankara that the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and has warned its NATO ally that it will face U.S. sanctions unless it drops the Russian systems. It also removed Turkey from the F-35 jet program, where Ankara was a buyer and manufacturer, in response to the Russian deal.
“Everything on S-400 systems goes as planned,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters on Nov. 26.
“There are activities to be performed within the framework of this process. Therefore, they are carried out as planned. There is nothing new and different. Therefore, our work continues as planned. Everyone is making every effort to complete this process,” Akar said when asked about the S-400 radar tests which were reportedly started on Nov. 25.