Turkey's Defence Minister has affirmed his country's willingness to allay Washington's technical concerns regarding the compatibility of its Russian S-400 missile system and the US F-35 fighter jet. Hulusi Akar made his comment during discussions of his ministry's budget for 2021 at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara.
Akar explained that Turkey would use the S-400 system, just as some NATO members use the S-300 missiles. He added that Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 system is not an option, but rather a necessity to maintain the security, safety, stability and sovereignty of the country, pointing out that Turkey is not just a buyer, but is also a manufacturer of F-35 fighter jets.
The minister told parliamentarians that the activities of Turkey's Army, Navy and Air Force are ongoing as planned, despite the pandemic. He stressed that his country will continue to confront attempts to limit Turkey's activities on its Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.
"We have no ambitions to take over anyone's rights," insisted Akar, "but we will not allow any party to usurp our rights. We would rather be martyred, than to accept the imposition of a fait accompli upon us."
In this context, he pointed out that Turkey has helped the legitimate government in Libya and established five training centres there to rehabilitate and boost the capacities of the armed forces.
Regarding the Azerbaijan-Armenia peace deal after the six-week war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Akar confirmed that Turkey will participate in the joint peacekeeping mission to monitor the progress and implementation of the accord. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he said, has discussed with his Russian counterpart the terms of the agreement and how to implement them on the ground.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced earlier this week that Azerbaijan and Armenia had agreed a ceasefire in Karabakh region. The two countries' forces will stay in their current areas of control.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev declared that the deal was a victory for his country and that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was forced to accept it by the military reality on the ground. Aliyev explained that the agreement provides for Azerbaijan to regain control of three provinces occupied by Armenia. It will also give Turkey land access to the Turkic states in Central Asia.