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Opposition leader: 'Turkey makes its own decision on buying S-400 system'

Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli delivers a speech during an open air meeting in Osmaniye, Turkey on March 28, 2019 [Eren Bozkurt/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey will make its own decision on purchasing Russian S-400 missile defense systems, according to the leader of a Turkish opposition party, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking at an event in Istanbul on Saturday, Devlet Bahceli, head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said the issue is a “done deal” for Turkey.

“Turkey will buy S-400s if it needs them according to its own security and national interests. This is over. Turkey is the only authority to decide on it,” Bahceli said.

Bahceli said Turkey is a powerful country in the region and has the ability to make independent decisions and implement them without any concessions.

He also criticized Washington, which advised Turkey to buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400s, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.

READ: US’ threats of sanctions on Turkey kind of ‘vandalism’

“Our country is neither a colony nor a state of the US,” Bahceli said.

Tensions between the US and Turkey have simmered over Ankara’s purchase of the S-400s.

Washington claims the purchase will jeopardise Turkey’s role in the F-35 fighter jet program and has threatened sanctions.

Turkey has said there is no conflict between the S-400 and the F-35 and has called for a working group to clarify the issue.

Ankara is set to take delivery of the first S-400 as early as next month.

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