S-400s pose no threat, risk to anybody, says Turkish defense minister
The S-400 air defense systems Turkey has deployed on its lands pose no threat to anybody, the Turkish defense minister has said, reiterating the Russian system is a defensive system and will be activated only in case of an aerial attack against Turkey.
“This is not an offensive [system]. It is not possible for this system to threaten anyone in any way where it is dispatched. It is not a risk, threat, or danger to anyone,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said at an inspection in a military facility in Şırnak province on May 13. Akar was accompanied by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and other top military brass.
Turkey’s procurement of S-400s from Russia has no secret agenda as its only objective is to possess an efficient air defense system to protect its air space, Akar said. “This must be well understood. Since this is an air defense system, it can be used against a missile, air attack,” he added.
Turkey’s deployment of the Russian systems has created a deep disagreement with the United States and triggered the U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
In his address to the troops, Akar said Turkey’s support to the Turkish Cypriots would continue in the coming period as well. He criticized the Greek narrative over the ties with Turkey, reiterating Ankara’s will to resolve the differences with Athens through dialogue. “Our wish is to start military talks between Turkey and Greece in the context of confidence-building measures,” he said, recalling that exploratory talks and political dialogue have already launched between the two neighbors.
On a process initiated with Egypt, Akar highlighted the deep and historical bonds between the peoples of Turkey and Egypt.
“From this point of view, it should be seen that the improvement of these relations will be beneficial for both sides. Especially, the relations between Turkey, Libya and Egypt will provide serious benefits to all countries and parties,” he added.
'Turkey determined to ensure peace in Syria'
Late on Mau 12, Akar said that Turkey is determined to provide peace and security in northern Syria, noting its struggle with those attempting to disrupt peace will continue.
During a visit to the southern Turkish province of Hatay near Syria, Akar held a videoconference with the commanders of troops serving along the border and beyond.
Akar said the region is going through a difficult period and Turkey is acting proactively, closely following all developments and taking all necessary measures.
He said Turkey continues to support the rightful causes of its allies in other geographies such as Libya, Cyprus and Azerbaijan and reminded them of the country's intense activities in northern Syria.
He added that more than one million Syrians have voluntarily and safely returned to their homes in regions whose security has been provided by the Turkish Armed Forces.
"We continue to spend the utmost effort with other ministries and the personnel of other institutions to meet the humanitarian needs of our Syrian brothers and sisters," he said.
Turkey aims to establish peace and security in northern Syria, which will be followed by work on a new constitution and elections, Akar added.
"We have done everything we could to eliminate all elements that disrupt peace and security, and we will continue to do so with an increasing pace from now on," he continued.
He warned that all elements intending to disrupt peace and security must come to their senses.
"Our struggle with them will continue till the end. We are determined to ensure peace and security," he said.
He called on the Israeli authorities to immediately desist from such actions.