No backtracking on S-400 deal with Russia – President Erdogan

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks after the Eid al Fitr prayer at Camlica Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey on June 4, 2019. (AA)

Ankara is “resolute” on S-400 missile defence system deal with Russia, the Turkish president said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey would not withdraw from a deal made with Russia to buy an S-400 missile defence system despite pressure from the United States.

“There is an agreement. We have determination. It is out of the question to take a step back from it S-400 deal,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

Turkey decided in 2017 to purchase the S-400 system following protracted efforts to purchase air defence systems from the US with no success.

However, US officials have advised Turkey to buy the Patriot missile system rather than the S-400 system from Moscow, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems.

Turkey has responded that it was the US refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding Russia offered it a better deal, including technology transfers.

‘Make a better offer’

“We can take a step for Patriots, if there is a positive offer as Russia made,” Erdogan said, adding but so far there was nothing from the US side.

Erdogan added a win-win approach is in the self-interest of every country. “If it is not the case, we are not obliged to buy anything.”

The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.

It can track and engage up to 300 targets at the same time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometres (17 miles).

Operation Claw

Erdogan on Tuesday said the Turkish military’s Operation Claw in northern Iraq against the PKK continues “resolutely”.

“Operation Claw continues. There is no slightest deviation. The operation continues resolutely,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

The Turkish Armed Forces launched Operation Claw against the PKK group on May 27.

Turkey, the US and the EU recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

In its 30-year terror campaign against the Turkish state more than 40,000 people, including women and children, have been killed.

Earlier, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that Turkish security forces neutralised a total of 64 terrorists since May 27 both at home and in northern Iraq.

Akar said a total of 28 terrorists were neutralised as part of Operation Claw, 25 others during air operations in northern Iraq, and 11 terrorists across Turkey.

Authorities often use “neutralised” in statements to imply terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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