Turkey on Tuesday confirmed it would not withdraw from a deal with Russia to buy S-400 missile defense systems despite pressure from the United States to reconsider.
“We have made an agreement (with Russia). We are determined. There is nothing like backtracking from that,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the official Anadolu news agency.
He also said a counter offer from the U.S. to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey was not as good as the Russian offer.
Washington has previously told its NATO ally that Ankara’s adoption of Russian S-400 missile technology alongside U.S. F-35 fighters would endanger Western defence.
The S-400 is the latest generation surface-to-air defense system developed by Russia as a rival for America’s own Patriot weaponry, and is considered by NATO countries to pose a threat to their combined air operations.
The S-400 missiles are not interoperable with the technology NATO countries use, as the alliance requires.
Last week, a top Pentagon official said the consequences would be “devastating” for Turkey if the country pressed ahead with the purchase.
Kathryn Wheelbarger, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, said Ankara’s move would damage Turkey’s ability to work with the Western alliance, and force Washington to hit the country with sanctions.
She said that the U.S. administration, even if it does not want to punish Turkey for the purchase, could be forced to do so by a Congress unsympathetic to Ankara.
Turkey has defied the mounting pressure and said the purchase was a “done deal.”
In April, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence bluntly warned that Turkey is risking the security of the NATO alliance by “making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance.”
AFP contributed to this report