"We will also take the necessary steps required by regional security and stability for our national interest as well while we maintain our strong position within NATO… Turkey's relationships with different countries or regions are not alternatives to each other but complementary. And we definitely do not condone the attempts to further trigger such a discussion on the basis of some current issues, such as S-400s, which fall under the sovereignty rights of our country," Erdogan said at the opening of the meeting of the North Atlantic Council with the participation of representatives from NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue partners.
Acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile systems has been a sticking point for Turkey that is committed to purchase the systems but is faced with pressure by the United States.
Most recently, the United States blackmailed Ankara with the halt of support for F-35 jets if Ankara proceeds with the purchase of S-400. The White House also threatened to punish Turkey with tough sanction unless it ditches the Russian systems.
Nonetheless, Turkey continues to stress that S-400 do not jeopardize US-manufactured F-35 in any manner, underlining that the purchase of S-400 had no connection to the alliance security whatsoever and is purely Turkey's sovereign affair.
Russia and Turkey signed a $2.5 billion loan agreement for the shipment of a total of four batteries of S-400 systems in December 2017. The first delivery is set for July 2019 and will proceed as scheduled, according to Turkish officials.