Erdogan says Turkey has right to use different air defense systems

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ANKARA, February 18. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday criticized claims Ankara must give up the idea of purchasing Russia’s air defense systems S-400.

“All of them say we must give up the purchase of S-400. Why should we change our mind? We have the right to use different systems. We do not believe that you have the right to criticize us,” he said in a speech in Burdur, telecast by the NTV channel.

Last week Erdogan confirmed that Ankara had no intention of dropping the S-400 contract, adding that Turkey hoped to have the Russian air defense systems in July.

Turkey-Russia talks over an S-400 contract hit the headlines in November 2016. Russia confirmed the conclusion of the deal on September 12, 2017. Erdogan said the prepayment under the contract had been made already. Turkey will become NATO’s first member-country to have purchased S-400 systems from Russia. The number of launchers to be provided was not disclosed officially.

US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchel on June 26, 2018 warned that Turkey’s acquisition of S-400 would force Washington to take sanctions against Ankara and bring about a fundamental change in bilateral relations. Also, Mitchel warned that the United States might refuse to provide to Turkey the F-35 planes it had purchased.

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