Erdogan says Turkey plans to buy more Russian defense systems



WASHINGTON, Sept.26 (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey still intends to purchase a second batch of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, a move that could worsen the split with the NATO ally Washington and trigger new US sanctions.

Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s larger defense systems. Turkey said it was unable to procure air defense systems from a NATO ally on satisfactory terms.

“In the future, no one will be able to interfere in terms of what kind of defense systems we acquire, from what country to what level,” Erdogan said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS News’s “Face the Nation”.

“No one can interfere with this. We are the only ones making such decisions.”

The United States imposed sanctions on Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate, its chief, Ismail Demir, and three other employees in December following the country’s acquisition of a first batch of S-400. Read more

Talks continued between Russia and Turkey over the delivery of a second batch, which Washington said would almost certainly trigger new sanctions.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA, September 21, 2021. REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz / Pool

“We urge Turkey at all levels and opportunities not to keep the S-400 system and to refrain from purchasing any additional Russian military equipment,” a State Department spokesperson said when asked about the comments. Erdogan.

“We continue to make it clear to Turkey that any new major Russian arms purchase would risk triggering separate CAATSA 231 sanctions and in addition to those imposed in December 2020,” the spokesperson added, referring to the law. of 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions.

The spokesperson also said that the United States sees Turkey as an ally and a friend and is looking for ways to strengthen their partnership “even when we don’t agree.”

Erdogan will meet with President Vladimir Putin in Russia on Wednesday to discuss issues such as the violence in northwestern Syria. Read more

Erdogan also said that US President Joe Biden never raised the issue of Turkey’s human rights record, which international rights groups consider to be of great concern, confirming Reuters information dating early September. Read more

When asked if Biden raised the issue at his June meeting on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels, Erdogan replied: “No, he didn’t. And because we have no problems of this nature in terms of freedoms, Turkey is incomparably free. “

Turkey is among the top jailers of journalists, according to figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), while Human Rights Watch says Erdogan’s authoritarian regime has been bolstered by passing legislation that violates international human rights obligations.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Ezgi Erkoyun; Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Pravin Char, Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney

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