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Erdogan says Turkey plans to buy more Russian defense systems

President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey still intends to buy a second batch of S 400 missile defense systems from Russia, a move that could deepen the rift with NATO ally Washington and trigger new US sanctions.

Washington says the S-400s are a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s wider defense systems. Turkey says it was unable to purchase air defense systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.

“In the future, no one will be able to interfere with what kind of defense system we get, from which country, at what level,” Erdogan said in an interview aired on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. ” “No one can interfere in this. We are the only ones to make such decisions.”

In December, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey’s Directorate of Defense Industry, its chief, Ismail Demir, and three other employees after the country acquired the first batch of S-400s.

Talks continue between Russia and Turkey about the delivery of the second batch, which Washington has repeatedly said will certainly trigger new sanctions.

When asked about Erdogan’s remarks, a State Department spokesman said: “We urge Turkey to maintain the S-400 system at all levels and to refrain from purchasing any additional Russian military equipment.”

“We continue to make clear to Turkey that any significant new Russian weapons purchases will carry the risk of triggering CAATSA 231 sanctions and in addition to the sanctions imposed in December 2020,” the spokesperson said, referring to the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Said while doing

The spokesman also said that the United States regards Turkey as an ally and friend and seeks ways to strengthen our partnership “even when we disagree”.

Erdogan will meet with President Vladimir Putin in Russia on Wednesday to discuss issues including violence in northwestern Syria.

 

Erdogan also said US President Joe Biden never raised the issue of Turkey’s human rights track record, which was seen as extremely troublesome by international rights advocacy groups, confirming Reuters reporting from earlier in September.

Asked whether Biden raised the issue during his June meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels, Erdogan said: “No, he didn’t. And because we have no problems of that nature in terms of freedom, Turkey is incomparably free.

Turkey is one of the top jailers for journalists, according to data from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), while Human Rights Watch says Erdogan’s authoritarian regime was consolidated by the passage of legislation violating international human rights obligations. Is.

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