Turkey to remain North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets mayors from his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets mayors from his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Thomson Reuters

He stressed that the purchase of weapons from a non-NATO country, referring to Russian Federation, is not consistent with the principles of the alliance, and said "NATO's joint missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from all threats in its region". "We are taking precautions and we will continue to do so", Erdogan said in a speech to ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayors in Ankara.

Russia and Turkey have signed a contract for Ankara to purchase the Russian-made S-400 missile defence system, the Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday. The Pentagon reiterated its concerns over the deal, which, it says, undermines inter-operability of weapons systems among North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

This is the largest deal that Turkey signs with a country from outside North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"We have expressed our concern to the Turkish officials about the Russian-Turkish arms deal".

Commenting on Turkey's planned missile purchase from Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has reportedly said that it is "up to each member state" of the alliance to make its own decisions on the purchase of weapons.

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His remark came after United States criticized Ankara's recent decision to purchase S-400 missile systems.

Erdogan said that Turkey has already laid down a deposit for the deal, which may cost up to $2.5 billion. As the dispute unfolded, the USA in 2015 withdrew its Patriot missiles from Turkey's border with Syria after a two-year deployment.

The announcement came amid souring relations between Ankara and Washington, which chose to support Kurdish militias in neighboring Syria and Iraq, disregarding the Turkish perception of Kurdish troops as a threat to its national security.

It has a 400 kilometre-range and can work with four different types of missiles with different starting weight and launch ranges.

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