National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, accompanied by the Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler, Land Forces Commander Gen. Umit Dundar, Naval Forces Commander Admiral Adnan Ozbal and Air Force Commander Gen. Hasan Kucukakyuz has inspected the military units along the Syrian border in Hatay province.
Answering questions posed by reporters about the US administration’s decision to suspend Turkey from the F-35 programme, Akar reiterated that Turkey faces a severe air and missile threat and added:
“Unfortunately, the US response to our intensive requests for air and missile defence system procurement since the early 2000s was too late and far from satisfactory.
In that context, the acquisition of S-400 regional air and missile defence system has emerged as a necessity, not a preference for us.
Although Turkey is an important partner and so far has fulfilled all its obligations within the F-35 programme it is clear that unilateral and unjustified steps to remove Turkey from the F-35 programme and supply chain lacks legitimacy.
Alongside some prudent and reasonable discourse from the United States, certain other statements do not tally with the spirit of alliance.
Removal of Turkey from the F-35 program will adversely affect NATO’s strength especially in its southern flank.
It is our most natural right as a strategic partner to expect the United States to abandon its current approach and avoid steps that could harm our relations.“
DEVELOPMENTS IN IDLIB, SYRIA
On questions regarding recent attacks in Idlib area in Syria, Minister Akar gave the following response:
“Increasing attacks and strikes by the regime forces designed to expand its area of control in Idlib De-escalation Zone raises the tension and deals irreparable blow to peace and stability in the area.
Due to the onslaught of the regime nearly 400,000 innocent civilians so far had to leave their homes and migrate to the northern parts of the province.
In accordance with the Sochi agreement reached on 17 September 2018, we expect the Russian Federation to take all necessary measures to prevent military operations, strikes and attacks towards Idlib and to stop the military advance initiated by the regime in the south of the De-escelation Zone and to ensure their withdrawal.“
AIR OPERATION ON QANDIL REGION
Minister Akar severely condemned the attack on the Turkish diplomat who lost his life in Irbil and said his thoughts and prayers are with his family. Stressing that Turkey’s fight against terror continues with more determination and zeal Minister Akar said:
"While our commandos in Operation Claw continue to destroy their lairs, our aircraft strike terror targets across the border one by one through air operations.
Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization. In this operation where we mostly used indigenous and national ammunition and UAVs, targets such as armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists were destroyed. Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged."
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