Turkey’s row with NATO about Chinese missiles continues

NATO insists on warning Ankara against the decision to acquire long-range missile systems from China. Following a defence ministers meeting in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen underlined that “the anti-aircraft system chosen must be compatible with those of NATO members; however the final decision will be made by Turkey”.

Rasmussen left open the possibility that Turkey’s decision will change. He said: “I believe Turkish authorities will take into account the compatibility issue before making a final decision. From what I gather they haven’t reached a final decision yet”.

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, seems insistent on buying the Chinese anti-aircraft system. “The most appropriate conditions indicate China. Negotiations are being held with China. If NATO is so sensitive on the issue, it should remove chemical weapons from Russia. There are many European countries that have Russian arms systems. Here, we have held joint exercises with China. NATO is fully aware of them and nobody has the right to overshadow our sovereignty,” he said.

Last September, the armaments council chaired by Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided China would supply the system rather than buy US Patriot missiles, which were considered the front-runner.

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(Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: World Economic Forum)