Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated today that Turkey is ready to purchase Patriot surface-to-air missile systems and other similar systems from its NATO allies, during an online seminar organised by the Washington-based Atlantic Council.
Cavusiglu said that Turkey’s decision to buy the S-400 system was a result of the reluctance of the United States to meet Turkey's urgent needs a whole decade, something that the American President Donald Trump had acknowledged.
He added that Turkey is ready to purchase the American Patriot Systems if they were to receive a good offer. The Turkish stance on the S-400 deal has not changed, but the diplomat said that Turkey offers the United States "to establish a technical working group with NATO’s inclusion, and NATO can lead this technical working group actually. And this offer is still on the table [...] This also includes the F-35 program, of which Turkey is a founding partner"
He assured that "Turkey will never put the integrity of the NATO defense system at risk."
"What I am trying to say is that: we had to buy S-400 air defence systems just because we could not purchase those kind of system from our allies for last 10 years. And in the future we need more air defence systems. And if our allies can provide - it does not have to be only Patriot from the United States, it can also be a SAMP/T of Eurosam, a joint venture of France and Italy, or any similar system from other allies - and we prefer to purchase from our allies. If not, I have to seek alternatives," Cavusoglu added.
The Turkish top diplomat criticized the United States for putting various preconditions for the delivery of Patriot systems to Turkey.
"First of all, it is not appropriate to put preconditions when an ally is in need, an urgent need, like happening in Idlib," he said. "Turkey needed the support of NATO, and also of allies, member states. […] And we need advanced missile and air defence systems to protect our people," adding that "the ballistic threat that Turkey faces is real."
According to the minister, Turkey’s previous attempts to purchase Patriot systems from the United States were unsuccessful. "The Congress, unfortunately - yes, I can understand their frustration and the reaction [to Turkey’s S-400 deal with Moscow] - but the Congress played a negative role in that respect," Cavusoglu said.
Source - TASS