Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu “poured oil” on the already tense relations between Turkey and the US in an interview to the domestic NTV TV network.
Speaking on the dispute that has emerged over his country’s procurement of the Russian anti-missile system S-400 and the US’s intention to tie it with its sale of the stealth F-35 fighter jets to its NATO ally, Mr Cavusoglu stressed it was unreasonable to doubt the country’s participation in NATO due to this agreement with Russia.
During the interview, the Turkish Minister also warned that Turkey may buy more S-400 or other defence systems if the US does not sell them to Patriot missile systems. “We have a great need. The area we are in is not full of roses”, he underlined.
On the F-35, Mr Cavusoglu pointed out that if Ankara does not buy the F-35 fighters, it would cover its needs elsewhere. “There are F-35s or Russian fighters. If they do not deliver them [F-35] to us, then we will turn elsewhere to meet this need. Until we build our own aircraft”, he noted.
Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the delivery of S-400s from Russia to the Turkish armed forces could be accelerated and made as earlier as July, according to the pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah.