Erdogan says ‘no backtrack’ on Russia missile deal, no need for ‘permission’
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Erdogan says ‘no backtrack’ on Russia missile deal, no need for ‘permission’

Turkish president declares purchase of Russian S-400 air defense system, which has angered Washington, is ‘directly related to our sovereignty’

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Istanbul, June 19, 2019. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Istanbul, June 19, 2019. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool

ANKARA, Turkey — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that NATO-member Turkey would take delivery of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system in July — a deal that has created tensions with the United States.

“The issue of S-400 is an issue directly related to our sovereignty and we will not backtrack from that,” Erdogan said in a televised speech.

“God willing, the delivery of the S-400 will start next month,” he said.

“In order to meet its security needs, Turkey… does not need to get permission, let alone bow to pressure.”

Illustrative: Image of Russian S-400 long-range air defense missile systems deployed at Hemeimeem air base in Syria, December 16, 2015. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

Erdogan has vowed to use his good relations with US counterpart Donald Trump to defuse tensions when they meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, later this week.

The US has given Turkey a deadline of July 31 to drop the purchase of the S-400 system, or face sanctions and removal from the United States’ F-35 fighter jet program.

Turkey has plans to buy 100 F-35s, and has lucrative contracts to build parts of the jet.

Relations with Washington have deteriorated over various issues, including the S-400 deal and US support for a Syrian Kurdish militia viewed as terrorists by Turkey.

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