Turkey still committed Nato partner

A Russian Antonov military cargo plane, carrying S-400 missile defence system from Russia, is unloaded after landing at the Murted military airbase in Ankara, on July 12, 2019.
A Russian Antonov military cargo plane, carrying S-400 missile defence system from Russia, is unloaded after landing at the Murted military airbase in Ankara, on July 12, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

In his Straits Times report (Start of Turkey's pullout from Nato?, Aug 19), global affairs correspondent Markus Ziener quoted mostly Turkey critics for his article on the country's procurement of the Russian-made S-400 air defence missile system.

First, it must be stressed that Turkey has been and continues to be a strong and committed Nato partner. We are acquiring the S-400 systems out of a very real defence need.

Second, it should be noted that, to address concerns, Turkey proposed setting up a joint commission to investigate the claims regarding the simultaneous use of these two weapons systems.

We continue to talk to our American friends on this matter as well as other matters of mutual concern.

Also, contrary to the claims in the report, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump enjoy a strong friendship based on frankness and frequently speak to each other to resolve issues.

I also find it particularly puzzling that Mr Ziener's report completely omits numerous statements by President Trump saying that he sees why Turkey has to obtain the S-400 systems.

On the other hand, the claim that the S-400s are a move to allay elements in the Turkish Armed Forces is untrue.

The outing of Feto (Fethullah Terrorist Organisation - the terror organisation behind the 2016 coup attempt) elements is directed at not only the armed forces but also all state organisations.

Turkey is procuring the S-400 systems for its security, plain and simple. And since it is a part of the backbone of Nato, is not the security of Turkey also the security of Nato?

Murat Lutem

Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey

Editor's note: The author Markus Ziener stands by the accuracy and impartiality of his Aug 19 report. The report is a reflection of the global debate surrounding recent developments in Turkey and cites respected experts.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2019, with the headline 'Turkey still committed Nato partner'. Print Edition | Subscribe