* Photograph: Fatih Aktaş / Ankara – Anadolu Agency
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Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda Richard Sezibera held a joint press conference after their bilateral and intra-delegation meetings at the Foreign Ministry in Ankara today (June 24).
Çavuşoğlu has stated that President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has agreed with US President Donald Trump to meet in G20 Summit in Japan, adding that they will discuss a series of issues including the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria, the formation of a safe zone in the wake of U.S. withdrawal and Syria’s Idlib.
Arguing that Turkey has been a partner of the F-35 program and has made a contribution of over 1 billion dollars, Çavuşoğlu has claimed that the steps taken by the U.S. do not comply with their partnership agreement.
‘It is impossible for us to give up on S-400s’
Çavuşoğlu stated the following regarding Turkey’s purchase of S-400s:
“The Republic of Turkey is a free and independent state. It is no longer a country that will purchase a product when the U.S. says so and does not purchase it when the U.S. says, ‘Don’t’.
“For that reason, no matter what decision of sanctions is given, no matter what statements come from the U.S., we have purchased the S-400s and we are now discussing when they will be delivered to Turkey.
“It is not possible for us to give up on this process, on the purchase of S-400s, because Turkey is in an urgent need of an air defense system.”
Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s
After the July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, Ankara and Moscow began talks for the purchase of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. Fikri Işık, the then Minister of Defense, said in April 2017 that Turkey “urgently” needs an air defense system and that NATO member countries did not make Turkey a “financially effective” offer.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Erdoğan announced in September 2017 that Turkey and Russia signed a contract for the purchase of the missiles. Then Minister of Defense Nurettin Canikli said that they will purchase two systems and four batteries from Russia. The Undersecretary for Defense Industry said that the delivery of the missiles is planned to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.