Turkey’s use of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems will not be reversed, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists on Friday as he was flying home from the summit of NATO leaders in Brussels. The West claimed that the US is negotiating with Ukraine to transfer Russian-made weapons from Turkey. In return, they offered various defense concessions.
“This is a done deal for us. They are our property serving our defense, so it’s over,”When asked about S-400 systems, the Turkish leader replied that they were not.
As a retaliation against Russian military hardware, Trump’s administration kicked Ankara off the F-35 Program.
Erdogan said his country’s reaction to the transfer idea was well-summarized in a letter from his spokesman, Fahrettin Altun, published by the Wall Street Journal this week. He stated that Washington should immediately reverse the sanctions, without any conditions in order to improve relations.
Talking about NATO’s revitalization by the Ukraine crisis, Erdogan remarked that French President Macron, who infamously called the military bloc “brain dead”In 2019, it was proved to be false. On Thursday, leaders of the member countries met behind closed doors to discuss how they would respond to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Erdogan declared that Turkey reiterated its importance as an integral part of the alliance.
Turkey is not like other EU members and refuses to place economic sanctions on Russia. Instead, it has kept its diplomatic channels open between Moscow and Kiev. Erdogan stated that Turkey did not intend to harm itself by cutting off economic ties from Russia, which is its largest energy supplier.
“I cannot leave my people in the snow in the winter,”The president was referring to Russian natural gas supplies. “I cannot completely stop our industry.”
According to Erdogan, the pragmatic approach is expected to help Turkish tourism. He believes that Russian tourists will be an important source of revenue in the future for the industry. Erdogan claimed that Russia is under financial sanctions and that Ankara’s suggestion to change payments to Turkey to Russia was correct.
Commenting on Turkey’s mediation efforts between Moscow and Kiev, Erdogan announced that he would be talking to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky later on Friday and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin over the weekend or early next week.
He stated that both fighting countries had reached common ground on four of six major points of contention during peace talks. Erdogan claimed that Kiev will not forget its sovereign rights over Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Zelensky had previously stated that he would allow the referendum on territorial questions to take place, but Moscow suggested it was impossible given the facts.
Crimea joined Russia in 2014. The Russians also recognized the other two regions as sovereign republics just days before they launched their attack against Ukraine. Protecting Donetsk and Lugansk from Kiev’s forces was one of the stated goals of the Russian offensive.
Erdogan said the hostilities in Ukraine are a major crisis for the world, both due to the humanitarian damage they were causing and because of the economic impact of the anti-Russian sanctions and Moscow’s counter sanctions.
Turkey was indirectly affected by potential threats from Ukrainian mines at the Black Sea. Russia has warned that they could untether the ships and cause them to float toward shipping routes via the Turkish Straits. Erdogan stated that the Turkish Navy was working hard to address it.
Ankara would like to see an immediate and peaceful solution to this situation. He stressed that Ankara was doing all it could to help.