President Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved to justify Turkey’s purchase of a Russian-made S-400 missile defence system, a day after its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) ally the United States voiced concerns over the deal.
Russia and Turkey have signed a contract for Ankara to purchase the Russian-made S-400 missile defence system, the Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday.
Erdogan was earlier quoted by local media as saying that his country had put down a deposit for the advanced missile system.
“They have gone mad because we signed an S-400 deal there. So what?
Are we going to wait for you?” Erdogan told a meeting on Wednesday in Ankara where he addressed mayors from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“We will take matters into our own hands,” he added.
Erdogan’s remarks follow a statement from the US State Department on Tuesday which voiced concerns over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian missile system.
“If Turkey were to buy these S-400s, as is being reported, that would of course be a concern of ours,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday.
“What matters for NATO is that the equipment allies acquire is able to operate together. … No NATO ally currently operates the S-400,” a NATO official told dpa on Tuesday.
Some media reports have said the deal could be worth up to 2.5 billion dollars.
A previous Turkish effort to buy a Chinese missile defence system was not successful in part over disagreements on knowledge transfer.