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France recalls Turkey envoy after 'unacceptable' Erdogan comments

France recalls Turkey envoy after 'unacceptable' Erdogan comments

Turkey on Saturday dismissed US criticism that the Russian defense systems it has bought are not compatible with Ankara's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commitments.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Friday that Turkey had been testing the S-400 air defence systems that it bought from Russian Federation and said US objections on the issue did not matter. "The US stance absolutely does not concern us", he stressed.

"Turkey has already been suspended from the F-35 program and the S-400 continues to be a significant barrier to progress elsewhere in the bilateral relationship", Hoffman said. Erdogan confirmed the country tested its Russian-made missile defense system, despite objections from the United States.

"It is true about the tests, they have been done and will continue", Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

"We are not going to ask the United States for permission", the Turkish leader asserted.

Press reports last week claimed that the test firing of the S-400s was conducted in Turkey's northern province of Sinop. It says it was forced to negotiate with Russian Federation for the purchase of the S-400s after the US refused to sell the American-made Patriot system. Turkey had initially said the S-400 would be operational in April, but it has since delayed activating the system.

Washington has strongly objected to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey's acquisition of the Russian anti-aircraft system and suspended Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet program, saying the S-400s are a threat to the stealth fighter jets and wouldn't be interoperable with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation systems.

Earlier this month, Macron pledged to fight "Islamist separatism", which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France, drawing a sharp rebuke from Erdogan.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that Turkey and Greece have agreed to cancel rival military exercises that were to have been held next week on their respective national days.

The neighbours, while North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members, are at loggerheads over energy drilling and maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean and the alliance has set up a hotline to head off accidental clashes.