18-04-2019 11:06:18

“Turkey's main concern is the risk, threat and danger coming posed by terrorist groups”

National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar spoke at the 37th annual conference of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, Turkey-U.S. Business Council, and American-Turkish Council.

Akar said the date had been offered by Moscow in the latest meetings on the systems’ delivery.

Akar underlined that the decades-long cooperation between Ankara and Washington in military affairs as well as other fields was important and that current efforts to resolve outstanding issues between the two allies would continue.

"It will be us who solve these problems, not anybody else," Akar said, stressing that dialogue was essential.

At times, there have been serious misunderstandings and inaccurate expressions.

"While these may sometimes occur naturally, they may also be consciously uttered to mislead," he said, adding that any detail may be critical in the decisions of policymakers.

Akar said Turkey was currently trying to use "all means" to ensure the security of its 82 million people against the air and missile threats directed at the country.

He stressed that Turkey would not integrate the S-400 into NATO defense systems deployed on its territory, not Turkish hardware connected to the alliance’s network.

"They will probably be used in the defense of Ankara and Istanbul," Akar said, referring to Turkey’s capital city and its most populous province.

He underlined that the missile batteries and F-35 fighter jets that Ankara jointly developed with other NATO countries and is currently awaiting their delivery would not be positioned close to each other.

Washington had warned that if Turkey went through with the Russian purchase, the S-400 system might covertly obtain critical information on the F-35 jets, including their detection range, which could then be relayed to Russia.

"There are S-400 missiles located in Syria while F-35s are located nearby in Israel. There are similar situations in the Baltic countries as well," Akar said.

Akar emphasized that Turkey would need many air defense systems if it was to control its airspace in its entirety, referring to recent airborne terrorist attacks from Syrian territory.

"Terrorists are attaching explosives onto improvised aircrafts and using them against our people," Akar said. 

He underlined that Turkey respected Syria’s territorial integrity and had "no intention" of occupying its lands.

Akar highlighted that Turkey's main concern is the risk, threat and danger coming posed by terrorist groups.