The S-400 is Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets including ballistic and cruise missiles. (Reuters photo)
ANKARA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that his country will continue to take its own security measures, refuting western concerns over the NATO member's deal with Russia to procure an S-400 missile defense system.
"What are we supposed to do? Wait for you? We are taking our security measures and will continue to do so," Erdogan said during a meeting with mayors from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara.
Erdogan announced on Sunday that Turkey had signed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 missile defense systems the total value of which is around 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, with the down payment already transferred to Moscow.
Shortly after Erdogan's announcement, western countries expressed concerns over the deal as it cannot be integrated into the NATO system.
"We have relayed our concerns to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400. A NATO inter-operable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in its region," Pentagon Spokesman Johnny Michael said in a statement Tuesday.
"What matters for NATO is that the equipment allies acquire is able to operate together. The inter-operability of our armed forces is fundamental to NATO for the conduct of our operations and missions," said NATO Spokesman Mark Sanders.
Turkish officials said in April that NATO nations had not presented a "financially effective" offer on alternative missile defense systems.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey was free to make military acquisitions based on its defense needs.
Ankara objected to the criticism by the United States, citing that Greece, another NATO member, purchased the Russian S-300 defense system and has been using it for years.
The S-400 is Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets including ballistic and cruise missiles.