The Turkish foreign minister has defended his country’s purchase of a Russian-made air defense system, the first of its kind by a NATO member.
Mevlut Cavusoglu (May-VLOOT CHA-voosh-oh-loo) insists “Turkey is a sovereign country” and says its acquisition of the S400 anti-aircraft system came only because it needed such a system and ran out of other options, such as from the United States.
Cavusoglu spoke at a panel discussion Wednesday before a NATO summit in Brussels.
The S400s wouldn’t be compatible with many other NATO systems that Turkey has and operates.
“It is my urgent need and I tried to buy from many other countries — including China, but I get the best deal from Russia, and I bought it,” Cavusoglu said.
“I tried to buy from my allies.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his country is offering to lead NATO’s new military training mission in Iraq for the first year and stands ready to provide 250 troops plus helicopters for the effort.
Trudeau said Wednesday that it is important to help build the conflict-ravaged country’s resilience against the Islamic State group.
Speaking at a German Marshall Fund event on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels, Trudeau said that “we have to build that democracy and strengthen it,” and doing so “is something that we believe in deeply.”
NATO leaders are expected to announce later Wednesday that the alliance is stepping up its troop training and military academy building effort in Iraq, with hundreds of trainers operating out of the capital, Baghdad.