The former head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Turkey, retired general İlker Başbuğ recent made a number of powerful statements about his country’s purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems and American F-35 fighters (which Ankara still counts on receiving despite threat from the US to the contrary). Here are the most important excerpts from his speeches.
S-400, F-35, Türkiye-ABD ilişkileri, Suriye’de son durum… Dış politikadaki son gelişmeleri 26. Genelkurmay Başkanı Sayın @ilkerbasbugcom ile konuşacağız. Saat 22:00’de #TürkiyeninNabzı’na @HaberturkTV’ye bekliyoruz.
— Didem Arslan Yılmaz (@arslandidem) July 4, 2019
THE INCIDENT INVOLVING US TROOPS DETAINING AND PUTTING BAGS ON THE HEADS OF TURKISH TROOPS SERIOUSLY DAMAGED US – TURKISH RELATIONS
It is well known that our special forces are located in northern Iraq, some of which are in Sulaymaniyah. 16 years ago, on July 4, 2003, what has become known as the “bag incident” occurred in that area. Let me remind you that on July 4, Independence Day is celebrated in the US. Apparently, the date the incident occurred was not an accident. American soldiers attacked the building in which our military units were stationed in Sulaymaniyah and detained them. This was a serious insult to us. Our soldiers were taken from the site with bags on their heads so they would not know where there were being sent. This incident dealt a serious blow to Turkish-American relations, and will not be forgotten. Has our government been able to offer an adequate answer to this insult? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
When this happened, I was the head of the Ground Forces Command, while our units in northern Iraq were entirely under the responsibility and authority of the General Staff. As I learned later, that day the General Staff had called the Americans, but they didn’t answer. This situation has created an abyss between the Turkish Armed Forces and the Pentagon. In early September, I was transferred to the 2nd command of the General Staff. When I arrived, Turkish-American relations experienced a period of tension and cooling.