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Turkish main opposition backs S-400 purchase

ANKARA

Turkey’s main opposition party leader on Saturday supported the country’s decision to buy Russian S-400 missile defense systems. 

“If Turkey’s past desire to purchase Patriots [U.S.-made missile defense systems] was not met, of course it will pursue other options to ensure its security,” said Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

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Kilicdaroglu underlined that the U.S. Senate should look at the geography in which Turkey is located. 

Emphasizing that Turkey was located in a “ring of fire” and thus had to guarantee its safety, he said he did not approve of the pressure exerted by the U.S. Senate and other organs on U.S. President Donald Trump to “oppress Turkey.”

“Turkey will do whatever is best for itself and will continue on its own path,” he said.

Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara signed a contract in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.

U.S. officials urged Turkey to buy Patriot missiles, arguing that the Russian systems would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian espionage.

Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Turkey has urged formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the U.S. has failed to respond to this proposal.

The U.S. has threatened sanctions over the purchase, with Turkey responding that any sanctions would be met in kind.

*Writing by Dilara Hamit

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