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.