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At NATO Summit Turkey Defends Its Purchase of S-400 Air-Defense System from Russia

July 11, 2018 (EIRNS)—While U.S. President Donald Trump is getting all the attention, he is not the only one giving the NATO leadership headaches. Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan attended as well, and is defending Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-built S-400 air defense system. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is accompanying Erdogan, argued before an Atlantic Council forum in Brussels that Turkey needs the S-400 to defend airspace not covered by NATO. “NATO can protect only 30% of our airspace. Who will protect my nation in case of an attack by the Assad regime [in Syria] or from elsewhere?” Cavusoglu was quoted as asking by Hurriyet Daily News.

“We could not obtain these systems from our allies,’ Cavusoglu said. “Russia has approached us with the best offer. Now, we are purchasing [these systems] from Russia,” he said, stressing that this was a technical decision and not a political one. He also reassured his audience that Turkey is staying in NATO.

“No, Turkey is not moving anywhere. Turkey is a NATO ally, a part of Europe and member of various European institutions. Turkey has been trying to become a member of the European Union for 60 years,”

said Cavusoglu, thus answering the accusations that Turkey is moving into Russia’s “sphere of influence.”

Earlier, upon his arrival in Brussels, Cavusoglu reported that the first S-400 batteries will be delivered to Turkey from Russia by the end of 2019, reported the official Anadolu Agency.

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