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Dec 09, 2019
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: We Will Continue Drilling in Regional Seas; If We Buy the Patriot Missile System from the U.S., It Won’t Be Instead of the Russian S-400

#7660 | 02:38
Source: TRT Haber (Turkey)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a December 9, 2019 interview with the state-run TRT news network that Turkey currently has two drillships and two seismic research ships, and that it is going to acquire one more of each. He said that Turkey is going to continue drilling in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Black Sea, and possibly in international waters, and that other countries cannot ship natural gas in the region without Turkey’s approval. Later in the interview, Erdoğan said that if Turkey were to receive a request for military assistance from the Libyan government and the Libyan people, it would decide how to act without anybody else’s permission. Furthermore, Erdoğan said that if Turkey ends up purchasing the Patriot air defense system from the United States, it would be in addition to the Russian S-400 system, and not in its stead, because Turkey wants to diversify its air defense systems. The interview, which was conducted by TRT World Editor-in-Chief Serdar Karagöz and TRT anchors Pelin Çift and Zeynep Bulut Şenel, was broadcasted on seven TV channels and one radio station, all owned by TRT.

Following are excerpts:

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Now, praise be to Allah, we have two drillships and two seismic research ships. We are in the agreement stages for another [seismic research] ship, and we will get another drillship, because we are going to maintain this work, not only in the Mediterranean Sea, but occasionally in the Black Sea and maybe even in international waters.

 

[…]

 

South Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, and Israel cannot create a natural gas shipping route in this region without Turkey’s approval.

 

[…]

 

Interviewer 1: If [Libya] asks for support from Turkey, will our soldiers go to Libya?

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Such a call would, needless to say, give turkey a right. The moment such an invitation comes from the Libyan people and from the government of Libya, this would give us quite a right.

 

[…]

 

In the event of such an invitation, Turkey will decide for itself what kind of initiative it will undertake. We will not get permission from anybody. We will make this decision ourselves.

 

[…]

 

With regard to not acquiring the S-400 [air defense system from Russia] and getting the Patriot [missile system from America] in its stead... We cannot give up on the S-400. For us, that page has turned. But if [America] is going to give us the Patriot, and if there will be suitable conditions, then let’s get the Patriot from them. Because we want to diversity our air defense systems.

 

[…]

 

Interviewer 2: There is the goal of $100 billion in trade with the United States. Donald Trump and his team are showing seriousness in this regard. Are concrete steps being taken?

 

[…]

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Trump is sincere on this subject. He gave the instructions. He said to his commerce secretary: “You are going to do this.” His secretary is a man of the market. The dialogue between him and our minister of commerce is ongoing. I hope that we will take this step together.

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