Turkish FM denies purchase of Russia's air defence systems means shift from NATO

"Turkey has always been willing to assist NATO in all the recent challenges that it faced," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (R) shakes hands with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg ahead of a meeting in Ankara on April 21, 2016. / AFP.
Thursday, 23 November 2017 17:59

The Turkish government's purchasing Russia's S-400 Triumph air defence systems does not reflect a shift in Ankara's policy from NATO, Turkish Foreign Minister said Thursday.

"Turkey is one of the alliance's founding countries and has always contributed a lot to its work. [Turkey] has always been willing to assist NATO in all the recent challenges that it faced," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, answering a question about Ankara's desire to continue to cooperate with NATO in the light of S-400 deliveries.

Çavuşoğlu indicated that Turkey was seeking to defend its airspace and strengthen its security as the country was surrounded by threats.

"[Turkey] is not the first country that has purchased missile defence systems from Russia, there are others: why does everyone speak about Turkey? It is said that Turkey is pulling away from Europe toward Russia. During the crisis foreign ministers of foreign countries advised us to re-establish torn relations with Russia, so why are we blamed now but not then?" the Turkish foreign minister added.

Moscow and Ankara signed an agreement on S-400 deliveries in September. In late October, NATO’s Military Committee Chairman Gen. Petr Pavel warned Turkey that there may be consequences if the country procured Russia's S-400 air defence system, adding that it will prevent Turkey from becoming part of any integrated air defence system.