US President Donald Trump admitted that the previous US administration headed by Barack Obama had made a mistake not selling the Patriot surface-to-air missile system to Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Washington on Wednesday.
The Turkish top diplomat pointed out that Ankara views as a done deal the agreement with Moscow on acquiring the S-400 long-range air defense missile system.
When asked if he would tell Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton about this stance at their coming meeting, Cavusoglu answered speaking English, “Definitely, definitely.”
“It’s a done deal,” he repeated three times commenting on Ankara’s plans to purchase the S-400 systems. “And even President Trump admitted on the phone that it was the mistake of the previous administration of United States that they couldn’t sell Patriots to us. This is not a choice for us,”
The foreign minister meant a certain telephone conversation between Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan but did not elaborate when this conversation took place.
“We received a recent proposal from the United States, but it doesn’t guarantee that United States will be able to sell Patriots to Turkey, because we couldn’t get it for last 10 years. That’s why we had to buy from Russia. And we tried to buy from other allies as well. It didn’t work,” he said. “So it is an urgent need of Turkey,” Cavusoglu said. “Because of the threat in the neighborhood. Everybody has missiles”
“NATO is not capable enough to cover our airspace yet, not only the Turkish,” the foreign minister stressed dismissing US and NATO reasons that the S-400 systems were incompatible with Western systems.
“No, not at all,” he answered.
“It the S-400 doesn’t have to be integrated to the NATO system, and this is not our aim. This is for our own use,” Cavusoglu explained.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “made it very clear that any NATO member state can buy any system from any country. This is the clear statement of the Secretary-General Stoltenberg,” he recalled.