Turkey and Germany have defended their ties with Russia following strident criticism by the US at a Nato event in Washington.
The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said the US was wrong in trying to force Ankara to buy US-made anti-aircraft systems called Patriots instead of Russian-made S-400s.
He compared the situation to Ukraine, saying US pressure for it to join the West had prompted its conflict with Russia.
“Turkey doesn’t have to choose between Russia or any others … nobody, neither the West nor Russia, should or can ask us to choose between [them],” he said at a think-tank event in the US capital on Wednesday (3 April).
“And, it happened with Ukraine, and look at what happened. The West asked Ukraine to choose only them and Russia did the same thing,” he added.
He criticised Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its recent “aggression” against Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea.
“We have been working with Russia, but it doesn’t mean that we are undermining the alliance and we agree with Russia on everything. There is no shift on our foreign policy,” Cavusoglu said.
He also ruled out a U-turn on the deal, however.