The Turkish president says that giving up the Russian missile defence system would be an interference in Turkey's sovereignty rights but is open to buying the US's Patriot missile defence system as well.
Turkey will not give up on Russian S-400 air-defence system to acquire US Patriots, the Turkish president said on Wednesday, stressing his country “can buy Patriots too”.
“It is out of the question to completely leave Russian S-400 to buy US Patriots. We can buy Patriots too. However, we will buy S-400 as well,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in his flight en route to Ankara from Washington.
“Turkey can buy US Patriots, but we consider offers to buy just Patriots and completely put Russian S-400s aside as an interference in our sovereignty rights,” Erdogan added.
Turkey's acquisition of the advanced Russian air-defence system prompted the Trump administration to remove Turkey from the F-35 fifth-generation joint strike fighter program in July.
The US maintains that the system could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the jet and is incompatible with NATO systems.
Turkey, however, counters that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Erdogan said the US President Donald Trump makes sincere efforts to find solutions for issues based on mutual respect and national interests in bilateral relations.
“[However], anti-Trump circles are working hard to break our relations,” he said, adding Trump was “positive and constructive”.
Erdogan said building dialogue on facts would help overcome disagreements between Turkey and the US.
He said Turkey sought to have "friendly" relations with both Russia and the U.S.
Extradition of FETO ringleader
Erdogan said talks on extradition of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) ringleader Fetullah Gulen were ongoing between the Turkish and the US Justice Ministries.
He said that the Turkish side presented booklets to the US senators on crimes committed by the FETO terror group.
Referring to a resolution passed in the US House of Representatives recognising the so-called "Armenian genocide", Erdogan said he briefed US President Trump and senators on the events of 1915 and told them it was a "great mistake to politicise historical incidents."
Turkey's position is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.
YPG/PKK ringleader’s crimes exposed
The Turkish president also showed a video to his US counterpart and senators which documented crimes committed by the ringleader of YPG/PKK Ferhat Abdi Sahin, also known as Mazloum Kobani.
Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish communications director, shared the video on Twitter and wrote: "The video details the massacres committed by the terrorist code-named Mazloum Kobane".
Here is the video that was shown to President Trump and US senators by President Erdogan yesterday during their meeting at the White House.— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) November 14, 2019
The video details the massacres committed by the terrorist code named Mazloum Kobane. pic.twitter.com/KFexW9hvMy
On Wednesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during his visit to the US, said Sahin has caused the deaths of hundreds of Turkish people and is the adopted son of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the PKK terrorist organization.
He added that it is "regrettable" that Sahin is taken seriously by Washington.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.