April 13, 2019 / 03:23 PM
AKP stresses S-400s importance for Turkey

Procuring Russian S-400 defense systems is a matter of national security for Turkey, the ruling party spokesman said on April 12.

"Similarly, questioning Turkey on the F-35 program is like questioning NATO's joint projects and the collective concept of security," Omer Celik told reporters at AKP headquarters in Ankara.    

Washington has balked at Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400, and last week suspended delivery of parts and services for F-35 fighter jets.    

U.S. officials have suggested Turkey buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems and would expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.    

Turkey has responded that it was the U.S. refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russia offered it a better deal, including technology transfers.    

According to Anadolu agency Celik added “the U.S. should not turn its arms market competition into an issue of NATO alliance.”

Reporter’s code: 50101