September 5, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8262

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: 'Some Countries Have Missiles With Nuclear Warheads... I, However, Am Not Supposed To Have [Them] – I Do Not Accept This'

September 5, 2019
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 8262

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a September 4, 2019 speech that was aired by the Anadolu News Agency (Turkey) that he cannot accept a situation in which "almost all the developed countries" have missiles with nuclear warheads while Turkey is not allowed to have them. He said that Turkey is "continuing its work," and he criticized the world for opposing Turkey's acquisition of the S-400 air defense system. In addition, Erdogan reassured the audience that Turkey's S-400 system will be completed by April of 2020.

"Internal Enemies Are Blocking Turkey's Bounding [Upward], Turkey's Development"

President Erdoğan gave the speech at an event held in the Turkish city of Sivas to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Sivas Congress,[1] an assembly of the Turkish National Movement called by Turkey's founding leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, held from September 4-11, 1919, in the same city, and at which decisions were made that would shape the movement's policies in the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922). President Erdoğan began his speech by saying: "One hundred years ago today, the committee that gathered in Sivas was imagining not only the political independence, but also the economic freedom of our country." He went on to describe how the country's economic policies in the early 20th century were not enough "to carry us to the place that we wanted to reach." Regarding the period after World War II, he said: "We were left as spectators to countries, who began to develop under almost the same circumstances that we did, passing us by. An example of this is South Korea: Despite our being far ahead of South Korea, it overtook us, passed us, and now is far ahead of us." He cited various reasons for other countries developing more quickly than Turkey and said: "Internal enemies are blocking Turkey's bounding [upward], Turkey's development. In every period, different means were put in place to keep Turkey as a country continuously grappling with its internal issues and spending its energy internally."

"Until Today We Have Sat At The Table With America, Now We Sit With Russia, Maybe Tomorrow We Will Sit With China"

On the issue of Russia's sale of the S-400 missile defense system to Turkey, President Erdoğan said: "We have come to the position of [being] a country that, by increasing its alternatives, sits at the table with the world with the understanding of not a single order, but of 'I'll take it from whoever gives me the better conditions.' Until today we have sat at the table with America, now we sit with Russia, maybe tomorrow we will sit with China. Our intention is to increase alternatives... The first condition that I put to these dear friends is: 'Will we always be able to do joint production?' If we are not going to do joint production, then excuse me, because we have been the market for years while they were the merchants and producers... I said to the honorable Trump, let's get the Patriot [missile system] from you.' He said: 'Are you serious?' I said: 'Yes, I'm serious, but the conditions will be the same.' I meant that whatever conditions we get from Russia, we will get the same conditions from you."

Regarding Turkey's production of drones, he said: "Look at how bad neighbors made us the landlord. We now produce drones. Do we produce armed drones too? We do... [We] did not stop at producing them; we have begun exporting them as well." On smart bombs, he said: "[The U.S.] didn't give them. [Obama] said: 'Let's ask Congress and after that we'll settle this,', but Obama's [political] life was not [long] enough, and he left. [Then] I asked the honorable Trump and nothing came from that either. But recently we made smart bombs; we have smart bombs and we are producing them."

Following is a clip and transcript of an excerpt of the speech in which President Erdoğan discussed missiles with nuclear warheads:

To view the clip of President Erdoğan on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

"I, However, Am Not Supposed To Have Missiles With Nuclear Warheads – I Do Not Accept This"

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: "Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, and not just one or two. I, however, am not supposed to have missiles with nuclear warheads. I do not accept this. In the world today, among the developed countries, there are almost no countries that do not have missiles with nuclear warheads. They all have them. In fact, one of them – I won't say the name, but it is not the current president... When I went there on a visit, [that president] said: 'They say this and that. Right now, I have 7,500 [missiles] with nuclear warheads, but Russia and America have 12,500 and 15,000 missiles with nuclear warheads. I'm going to make some [more].'

"Look at the situation, look at where they are, and look at how they compete [with one another]. And what are they telling us? [They say:] 'Absolutely not! Don't do it!'"

"They Are Even Preventing Us From Getting A Defense System – Well, We Got It"

"And right next to us, there is Israel, right? With everything [it has], it is a frightening [other countries]. My dear brothers and sisters, we are continuing our work. Look, the S-400 incident took place, and they raised hell. 'You can't have it,' they said. Why can't we? It's called the S-400 what? It's called 'Defense System,' not 'Assault System.' They are even preventing us from getting a defense system. Well, we got it. Allah willing, it will be completely finished in April."

[1], September 4, 2019.

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