Turkish PM Rebukes NATO over China Missile Deal Criticism

Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, March 26, 2012From Hürriyet Daily News:  Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rebuffed intensified international criticism over Turkey’s choice to agree a missile defense deal with China, a day after NATO declared that it wanted a say in the decision-making process.

Nobody has the right to overshadow our understanding of independence,” Erdoğan said Oct. 23 before departing for Kosovo.

The prime minister’s statement came a day after NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s remarks expressed the hope that NATO’s reaction would be taken into account before Turkey makes its final decision over the long-range anti-missile system.

Rasmussen stressed that NATO was completely aware that deciding which equipment to purchase is a national decision, but also stressed Turkey’s international commitments. “It’s of utmost importance that the system that a nation plans to acquire can work and operate together with similar systems in other Allied nations,” he said.

However, ignoring NATO’s stance on the issue, Erdoğan said there was no problem with the deal in terms of Turkey’s national preferences. . . .

Erdoğan said Turkey and China had already conducted an exercise with NATO’s knowledge and everything is proceeding by the book, adding that many points, including the operational capabilities of the missiles, the price and the option of joint production, had been taken into consideration when making the decision.

From Anadolu Agency:  Upon a question concerning reactions from the west to Turkey’s desicion to buy missiles from China, Erdogan said “Many NATO member states have Russian weaponry in their inventories. If NATO is so sensitive towards this issue it should first consider the NATO member states’ having Russian weaponry in their inventories”

Related Experts:

Image: Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, March 26, 2012 (photo: Government of Chile)