Erdogan on S-400 Purchase Amid Russia Sanctions: 'Turkey Decides Fate Itself'
ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodan reaffirmed on Monday Ankara's determination to purchase Russian S-400 Triumf air defense systems despite the new US sanctions against Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
"The S-400 issue bothers someone. Why? Turkey decides its fate itself. We will do what is beneficial for the country. And we took this step," Ergodan told an economic forum in Ankara.
The Turkish leader added that Ankara "should not ask somebody's permission" to sign any agreements.
On Friday, the United States unveiled new sanctions against 38 Russian individuals and entities, including Rosoboronexport, as well as senior government officials and businessmen. Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday that Moscow had a list of possible retaliatory measures in response to the recent the sanctions' expansion.
The Turkish president had earlier said that the S-400 systems delivery was the issue which concerned only Russia and Turkey.
Ankara's deal with Russia on S-400 deliveries was reached in September, while in December the two states signed a loan agreement for the missiles purchase by Turkey.
The Turkish defense authorities said Ankara was going to acquire two batteries of this system, which will be operated and serviced by the Turkish military personnel.
The Russian-Turkish cooperation on S-400 deliveries has been criticized by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United States, which have cited security concerns and the inability of integration between S-400 and NATO's air defense systems. Ankara, in its turn, has said that purchase of military equipment is its sovereign affair.
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