Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has signalled Ankara’s readiness to go ahead with talks with Washington over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 air defences from Russia, but warned against imposing a decision on the Turkish government.
“We will continue to discuss it with the US side but [Washington’s] position stipulating that it is pressing its point is unacceptable. If they have concerns, they will accept our proposal [on creating a working group led by NATO] to give a transparent assessment of the S-400-related issues,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara on Wednesday.
He said that the S-400s were purchased by Turkey “to keep it in a box” but added that the country needs more air defences in addition to the two S-400 batteries that Ankara deployed earlier this year.
“We can get [more] S-400s or we can get Patriots [air defences] from the US. Why is Turkey forced to choose between the US and Russia? What matters is mutual benefit and respect for sovereign rights,” Cavusoglu pointed out. In September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it plain that the idea of Ankara buying the US-made Patriot missile systems is “not off the table.”