The Turkish defense minister on Tuesday said his country bought Russian missile defense system in line with national interests as Moscow responded positively and Turkey made its planning accordingly.
Hulusi Akar, speaking at Aksaz naval base in the Marmaris district of Turkey’s western Mugla province, delivered remarks on Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) imposed by the US and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as on Syria.
Akar said Turkey opted to buy the Russian S-400 system in a bid to ensure the national defense of the country and noted that the US sanctions were not befitting to relations of the two allies.
Russia responded positively to this issue, and Turkey made its military, economic, and technological planning in this regard.
Inspection and controls of the S-400 system are underway based on the activity plan set by the parties, Akar also noted.
The sanctions will have a negative impact on Turkey’s activities with NATO and the US to some extent, he stressed, calling on the US government to reassess the situation from both military and political points of view.
Turkey and its armed forces are not ordinary powers, Akar further noted, adding that no actor could do anything in the Middle East region while acting without, or against, the Turkish Armed Forces.
Turkey seeks to resolve disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean, and on the island of Cyprus through dialogue and good neighborly relations, according to the minister, who also added that Ankara was resolute to protect the rights of Turkish people.
Stressing that Turkey did not want to violate the rights of any other country, he said the Athens administration attempted to turn its row with Ankara into a conflict between the EU and Turkey.
Akar also said Greek authorities did not participate in the NATO-led talks in Brussels whereas the Turkish side was present at the events.
Akar said the Turkish side did its best to maintain the cease-fire in northern Syrian territories, such as the Idlib city and Peace Spring Operation zone, and called on Russia and the US to keep their promises regarding ridding the area of terror elements.
Over 1 million Syrians have voluntarily returned to safe areas controlled by the Turkish army in Syria. He said the Turkish army would not allow harassment or violation against areas under its control.
He said the YPG was a Syrian branch of the PKK terror group, which killed tens of thousands of people in its decades-long terror campaign in Turkey, so it had to be treated as such.
The minister also added that there were not COVID-19 cases among ranks of the armed forces thanks to the rigid measures adopted by authorities to eliminate risk of infection among army members.
*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas in Ankara
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