First Published: 2017-09-13

Erdogan says Turkey will decide on its security
Turkish president dismisses NATO concerns over deal to buy S-400 missile defence system from Russia.
Middle East Online

"They went crazy because we made the S-400 agreement. What were we supposed to do, wait for you?"

ANKARA - President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday dismissed NATO allies' concern over Turkey's deal to buy a missile defence system from Russia and said Ankara would continue to take the security measures it thought right.

Turkey, whose relations with its allies have frayed in recent months, said it opted for the S-400 because Western companies had offered no "financially effective" alternative. But NATO officials have voiced disquiet over the purchase of missiles incompatible with alliance systems.

"They went crazy because we made the S-400 agreement. What were we supposed to do, wait for you? We are taking and will take all our measures on the security front," Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara. Turkey, with the second-largest army in the alliance, has enormous strategic importance for NATO, abutting as it does Syria, Iraq and Iran. But the relationship has become fractious.

Erdogan has been infuriated by Washington's support for Kurdish YPG fighters in the battle against Islamic State in Syria. Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast.

The U.S. Pentagon said it had expressed concerns to Ankara about the Russian purchase.

"A NATO interoperable missile defence system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in its region," spokesman Johnny Michael said in a statement.

- German criticism -

Germany has said it would restrict some arms sales to Turkey, reflecting the diplomatic strain over a security crackdown in Turkey following a failed military coup last year.

Berlin had originally sought to freeze major arms sales, but scaled that back after Turkey said that would harm the joint fight against Islamic State.

Berlin has criticised mass arrests that followed the failed coup and demanded the release of around a dozen German or Turkish-German citizens arrested in recent months.

Turkey originally awarded a $3.4 billion contract for the defence system to China in 2013, but cancelled that two years later, saying it would concentrate on developing a system domestically.

It later began talks with Russia, and in July Erdogan said the deal had been signed, although negotiations appear to have been drawn out over financing.

Turkish media quoted Erdogan this week as saying he and Russian President Vladimir Putin were determined that the agreement should proceed.

 

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

Barzani delays Kurdish independence vote announcement

Iran defies US, tests missile

Yemen leader promises UN to open entire country to aid

Saudi Arabia marks national day with fireworks, concerts

Saudi intercepts missile fired from Yemen

Turkey warns of 'security' steps in response to Iraqi Kurd vote

Syria's war off the radar at UN assembly

For many Iraqis, tradition trumps police

Darfur clashes kill 3 as Bashir urges reconciliation

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made

Syria Kurds vote to cement federal push

Police charge teenager over London Underground attack

Nigerian official to meet Turkish counterpart over illegal guns

Thousands feared trapped in Raqa as IS mounts last stand

Iraqi forces achieve first step in new offensive on IS

Migrant boat sinks off Turkish Black Sea coast leaving four dead, 20 missing

Trump praises 'friend' Erdogan

Rouhani vows Iran will boost missiles despite US criticism

Russia clashes with EU over Syria

UN sets up probe of IS war crimes in Iraq

US, Iranian top diplomats confront each other for first time

Air strikes kill 22 civilians in northwest Syria in 48 hours

Iranian supreme leader lashes out at Trump UN speech

Thousands of Huthi supporters mark 3 years since Sanaa takeover

Iraq attacks all remaining IS territory at once

Moscow accuses US of hitting Syrian regime forces

Turkey jails lawyers representing hunger striking teachers

Turkey, Iran and Iraq make joint threat against Kurd vote

Syrian Kurds to hold first local elections in federal push

Qatari expats lauded as statesmen by Arab critics

Shipwreck off Libyan coast leaves over 100 migrants missing

Will Turkey’s opposition to Kurdish state translate into action?

US ups the ante on Iraq Kurds

Macron: Iran nuclear deal no longer enough

Trump’s mind made up on Iran but refuses to divulge

Scores of Iraqis missing during war against ISIS

Netanyahu rejects calls for mixed gender worship at Western Wall

Russia accuses US of missile treaty breach

Iran TV translator mocked for watering down Trump speech

Saudi Arabia hopes Kurdish referendum will not take place

Saudi invites women to sports stadium for first time