But Erdogan has remained defiant. “Of course, of course, yes,” Erdogan said after stating Turkey would make its own defense choices, in response to Brennan’s question on whether Turkey would buy more S-400s.
Before departing New York, Erdogan told journalists that relations with President Joe Biden hadn't started well despite what he called his good work with previous U.S. leaders during his 19-years at Turkey's helm.
“I cannot honestly say that there is a healthy process in Turkish-American relations,” state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan as saying Thursday.
The two leaders didn't meet for bilateral talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Since Biden's victory in the U.S. presidential election, they have met only in June at a NATO summit where they discussed the possibility of Turkey securing and operating the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. But that has been shelved since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.
Erdogan also told Turkish media that Turkey would buy new missile defense systems if needed and that it was already developing its own.
The issue is one of several sticking points in Turkish-American relations that also include Turkey's human rights record, U.S. support for Syrian Kurdish fighters who Turkey considers terrorists, and the continued U.S. residency of a Muslim cleric accused of plotting the failed coup attempt against Erdogan’s government in 2016.
Erdogan is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 29 in Sochi, Russia.