‘Washington Has No Idea About Who It Deals with': Erdogan Brushes Off US Criticism over S-400
Story Code : 894017
"The United States does not know who it is dealing with. You told us to send the S-400s back to Russia. But we are not a tribal state, we are Turkey", Erdogan told a meeting in Malatya on Sunday, RIA Novosti reported.
In an apparent jab at Washington, the Turkish president also suggested that the US should slap sanctions on Ankara, a move that the White House has repeatedly pledged to make with regard to Turkey.
"Whatever the sanctions will be, do not be late, introduce them,” Erdogan said, recalling that even though Turkey "paid money for [the US fifth-generation fighter jets] F-35, Washington never supplied the warplanes to Ankara.
The statement comes a day after Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that the Turkish military is checking the S-400 air defence systems and preparing them for deployment, adding at the same time that “the purchase and planned check-ups of the S-400s do not mean that the country is alienating itself from NATO".
He stressed that the purchase of the Russian-made missile systems does not violate Turkey's obligations as a member of the alliance and asked NATO to point out an alternative to the air defence system, instead of criticising the deal.