Yesterday, Turkish opposition leader Devlet Bahceli slammed NATO criticism of Turkey’s decision to buy a Russian-made missile defense system.
As Anadolu Agency writes in an article "Turkey: Opposition leader slams NATO dig at defense buy", at his party's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli asked why Turkey should have asked NATO about its defense purchases. "Where was NATO when Turkey's national security was surrounded by terrible attacks, what was it doing?" he said. "We can buy weapons from whoever we want, and we never have to justify this to NATO."
On Oct, 26 in Washington, Gen. Petr Pavel, the head of NATO’s Military Committee, criticized Turkey for purchasing the Russian S-400 air defense system. On the purchase decision, he said: “The same way that nations are sovereign in making their decision, they are also sovereign in facing the consequences of that decision.”
Citing Turkey’s decades-long NATO membership, Bahceli said that Turkey has always fulfilled its responsibilities to the bloc since it joined, in 1952. Bahceli also decried NATO's lack of response to last year’s coup attempt in Turkey by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). "What measures did NATO take against FETO's July 15 coup attempt, what preventive measures has NATO put into effect?" he said.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and some 2,200 injured. Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Bahceli said that Turkey is an independent country that can buy whatever weapons it wants based on its needs. "We’re not looking at NATO but Qandil,” the northern Iraqi headquarters of the terrorist PKK, he said. “We’re engaged in a life and death struggle with murderers."
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU. During its over 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, more than 40,000 people have lost their lives.
Turkey recently agreed to purchase the S-400 system from Russia amid NATO concerns over the deal. The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets including ballistic and cruise missiles. It can track and engage up to 300 targets at the same time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers (17 miles).