Akar, Esper discuss Syria, S-400
Date: 2019-07-13 07:27
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his US counterpart talked by phone late Friday (July 12) about issues related to Turkey’s acquisition of a long-range missile defense system and recent developments in Syria.
Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system was “not a preference, but a necessity”, said Akar, adding Turkey is still evaluating a US proposal to sell it the Patriot air defense system.
Akar said Turkey's stance on the F-35 fighter jet program had not changed and the country had fulfilled all its obligations so far.
"Deterioration of Turkish-US ties serves neither Turkey, the U.S. nor NATO’s interests," he added.
During the phone conversation, the two ministers also discussed recent developments in Syria.
According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, Akar stressed that “the only military force that is ready, competent and appropriate for the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria is the Turkish Armed Forces”.
“He reiterated that for Turkey, protection of its borders and people was the priority, and in the face of intensive attacks from the Syrian border, Turkey would have to take necessary measures and would not allow terrorist groups to seek safe havens right across its borders,” the ministry said.
Akar and Esper also agreed that dialogue between the two countries should be maintained and a US military delegation should urgently be dispatched to Ankara next week to further the discussions on the safe zone in Syria, the statement added.
Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
The Assad regime and Russian warplanes have consistently broken the terms of the ceasefire, launching frequent attacks inside the zone.
Based on AA