"Turkish people no longer take seriously any informal pledge by the West to supply the Patriot," says the country's Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun.
Türkiye’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has urged the West and the US on Wednesday to deliver F-35 fighter jets and Patriot batteries to Ankara "without preconditions," saying informal proposals would not repair relations.
In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Altun cited an article published last week that suggested the use of Türkiye-owned S-400 missile systems in Ukraine against Russia, which it said would lead to a betterment of the relationship between Washington and Ankara.
"Though quite unrealistic today, this idea presents an opportunity to discuss the problems Türkiye has experienced lately with the West," said Altun.
The top official criticised the US accounts of Ankara's decision to buy Russian-made missiles, saying they omit that Ankara was the first to approach the US for the procurement of the Patriot system.
"Given that Türkiye is in one of the world’s most dangerous and unstable regions, and the threats Türkiye faced did not magically disappear with Washington’s rejection, Ankara had to look into alternatives," said Altun, recalling that former US President Donald Trump acknowledged the matter during his presidency.
"Türkiye did not have the choice to buy the Patriot," he said.
"Turks still remember how our allies withdrew Patriot batteries from Türkiye during some of the tensest periods in Turkish-Russian relations. In light of experience, the Turkish people no longer take seriously any informal pledge by the West to supply the Patriot," Altun said.
"Türkiye’s unlawful 'removal' from the F-35 program over political considerations (of which the US has not officially and lawfully notified Türkiye) makes it hard to take seriously the metaphorical carrot of Türkiye’s 'reinstatement,'" he said.
In 2019, Washington took Türkiye out of the F-35 programme because Ankara purchased Russia's S-400 air defence system.
Türkiye, however, stressed that the S-400s would not be integrated into NATO systems and so poses no threat to the alliance or its armaments. Ankara has also repeatedly proposed setting up a commission to clarify the issue.
Altun also said it is the responsibility of the West and the US to normalise relations with Türkiye.
Türkiye’s strategic importance
"The Ukraine crisis has shown that the geopolitical assessments of those who underestimated Türkiye’s strategic importance, claimed that NATO was ‘brain dead’ and thought that national borders were no longer subject to discussion were misguided," he wrote.
Türkiye expects to be treated by the West as it deserves, said Altun, adding: "It would take confidence-building measures, not so-called informal proposals, to repair the relationship."
On the Bayraktar armed drone, which is part of Ukraine's inventory that helps the Ukrainians fight Russians, Altun said Türkiye designed and manufactured it despite Western efforts to hinder that process.
"For example, Canada blocked arms sales to Türkiye. The senseless politicisation of defence cooperation among NATO allies reduced Türkiye’s dependence on foreign governments and pushed Turkish companies to innovate," said Altun.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict, which began on Feb 24, has met international outrage with the EU, US, and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.
At least 977 civilians have been killed and 1,594 injured in Ukraine since Russia began its attack on its western neighbour last month, according to UN estimates.
More than 3.62 million people have fled to neighbouring countries, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.