By Vugar Khalilov
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected the U.S. criticism over Turkey’s purchase of S-400 air defence systems from Russia, Yeni Shafak newspaper reported on September 30.
The American New York Times newspaper published the S-400 part of the interview that it had conducted with Erdogan, who was on a visit to New York to participate in the 76th UN General Assembly session.
In his interview with the newspaper, Erdogan rejected the criticism that the purchase of the advanced Russian defence system will undermine NATO - the main military alliance of the West.
"If the Americans had sold the Patriot missile defense system to Turkey, we wouldn't have had to buy the S-400s," Erdogan stressed.
Reminding both NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s and former US President Donald Trump’s approval on Turkey's right to choose its weapon suppliers, Erdogan stressed: "We buy our own weapons.”
"I think it was worth it. We can strengthen our defence as we wish," said Erdogan, while answering the question of whether Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems was worth the tension with the United States.
Pointing out that Turkey-US relations remain fundamentally important, Erdogan said that "Turkey has long-standing ties with the United States. This needs to be preserved and strengthened".
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