World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey on Friday continued pushback at NATO concerns over its decision to purchase a Russian-made air defense system.
"There is no question of our not fulfilling any of our responsibilities in our relations with NATO," said Mahir Unal, deputy chair and spokesman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, during an official visit to Russia.
NATO has raised concerns about Turkey, a longtime member of the defense bloc, purchasing Russia’s S-400 system.
Unal said Turkey's deal with Russia should not be distorted.
"We could have bought it from France, Germany, or China. We are buying it from Russia, as we held a series of negotiations and we got the best deal," he added.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this week that a first payment for the S-400 had been made to Russia.
Turkey’s NATO allies have expressed concerns that the Russian system is incompatible with the air defenses of other NATO members.
Turkish officials, however, insist the system will be compatible with NATO technology.
Erdogan also said: "Greece, which is also a NATO country, has been using the S-400 for years. Why didn’t they raise their voice about that?"
A NATO statement on Thursday denied the president's claim, saying: "No NATO ally currently operates the S-400."
The statement added that NATO "has not been informed about the details of any purchase.”
The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.
It can track and engage up to 300 targets at the same time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers (17 miles).Last Mod: 16 Eylül 2017, 14:25