11:08 GMT14 April 2021
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    DOHA (Sputnik) - Turkey needs more air defence systems and is well within its rights to acquire them from various sources, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

    Speaking at a joint press conference after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Doha, Cavusoglu emphasised Turkey's need to bolster its air space defenses.

    "We will need more air defence systems, and Turkey, as an independent country, reserves the right to acquire them from different sources. But no one should criticize Turkey on this issue," Cavusoglu said when asked about the purchase of the second batch of Russia's S-400 air defence systems.

    Turkey's purchase of the seminal Russian air-defence systems became a point of contention in the US-Turkish relationship since July 2019. Washington demanded that Ankara refuse the deal and purchase American Patriot systems instead, threatening to cancel F-35 deliveries. Ankara has so far resisted, even in the face of sanctions on its defence sector, imposed in December 2020.

    Earlier in the day, Turkish Industry Minister Mustafa Varank said that negotiations with Russia on the purchase of the second batch of S-400, and possible joint production, was underway.

    Tags:
    S-400, air defence, Russia, Turkey
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