S-400 purchase matter of existence for Turkey: Nationalist party leader
“It is now a matter of existence for the [Turkish] state,” Bahçeli said, speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting in the capital Ankara on June 26.
“Whether the U.S. likes it or not, the purchase of the S-400 has become an existence issue,” he said.
Bahçeli criticized the U.S., which has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey over the procurement of the Russian system, saying, “It is an insult that the U.S. threatens our country.”
“Turkey is at a crossroads. Either we submit to these threats, lose our honor, or get the S-400s and deploy them to the designated homeland.”
“Thus, this issue is more than one about an air defense system,” he said, claiming the U.S. had aimed for the “disintegration” of Turkey.
“The acquisition of the S-400s has indeed become a matter of existence,” he added.
Turkey must avoid concessions, Bahçeli said.
Turkey is set to receive the missile systems by July, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on June 25.
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have escalated in recent months over the S-400 purchase, which Washington said will jeopardize Turkey’s role in the F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger sanctions.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.
U.S. officials 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.
Turkey, however, emphasized the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Turkey has urged the formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the U.S. has failed to respond to this proposal.