May 14 2018

If I lose in the elections, my opponents will be ‘jumping for joy,’ says Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while speaking to the BBC for a special edition its HARDtalk show, set to air on Monday, said that his opponents would be ‘jumping for joy’ should he lose the elections slated for June 24 and stressed that Turkey’s deal with Russia to purchase S-400 systems was ‘’done and over with.’’

The Turkish president announced last month that parliamentary and presidential elections, originally scheduled for November 2019, will take place on 24 June. The new political system that will increase the powers of the president are thus set to take effect a year early as Erdoğan aims to keep his seat as a more powerful president.

Erdoğan, in responding to a question on the chances of him and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) winning the upcoming June 24 elections, said ‘’Why did you ask this question? All the better, if not winning is on the table, than the winners will be jumping with joy, don’t worry. The West and you should be at ease. The BBC, in particular, should really be at ease.’’

Following a question on Turkey’s controversial S-400 missile defence systems purchase from Russia and allegations that the systems are not compatible with those of NATO, the Turkish president said:

‘I don’t find your approach right. NATO’s Secretary General Stoltenberg made a very clear statement that member countries are fee to buy weapons from whichever countries they please. If I can buy any weapon I would like from the United States, or another NATO country, I am going to purchase it from wherever I find it. And we made this agreement with Russia on condition of joint production and we are buying these S-400 systems from Russia.’’

The Turkish president underlined that he spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump about the missile systems and that the U.S. refused to sell equivilent weapons to Turkey.

‘’We have a good deal with Russia on the S-400s and we will buy them. We’ve signed our agreements, too...We’ve finished the deal.’’

Turkey signed a contract with Russia last year to buy the S-400s, which could be delivered as early as next year. The move has angered U.S. officials who say the system is not compatible with NATO systems and may compromise Turkey’s purchase of American made F-35 fighter jets.