Erdogan Says Turkey Won’t Turn Back From S-400 Deal with Russia
ANKARA, Turkey (BulgarianMilitary.com) – On Saturday, in a speech in Burdur, telecast by the NTV channel, the Turkish President Recep Erdogan stated that Ankara would not give up buying the S-400 missile systems from Moscow. His statement comes a day after the informal deadline, set by the U.S. Turkey to respond whether it will go ahead with the S-400 purchase, has passed, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Despite the U.S.-led alliance’s warnings that the S-400 is incompatible with the NATO systems, Turkey has repeatedly stated it is committed to purchase the Russian missile defence system.
Ankara was supposed to respond to the rival U.S. offer by 15th February, saying whether it will proceed with the S-400 purchase, if so, Washington would withdraw its offer to sell a Raytheon Co Patriot missile package that worth $3.5 billion. The U.S. officials also added that the Turkey’s purchase of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets would be jeopardized as well as possible sanctions would be imposed. It was not immediately clear whether Turkey had responded to the U.S. offer.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Erdogan criticized the claims Turkey must turn back from the deal with Russia to purchase S-400 air defense systems and said Ankara would press on with it, with hoping that Turkey would acquire the Russian air defense systems in July this year.
“All of them say we must give up the purchase of S-400. Why should we change our mind? We have the right to use different systems. We do not believe that you have the right to criticize us. We made the S-400 deal with Russia, so it out of the question for us to turn back. That’s done,” he stated.
According to his words, as long as the deal served Turkey’s interests, it was open to buying Patriot systems from Washington but he also pointed that there were issues releted to the delivery and production that were still under discussion with the U.S. Turkey’s President notes that the early delivery issue is viewed positively by the U.S. administration but nothing will be said about credit or joint production.
Reuters, quoting U.S. officials said that at the end of the next month, the formal U.S. offer for Turkey’s purchase of Patriot systems expires and after that a new offer would have to be submitted.
Turkey is about to become NATO’s first member state to have bought S-400 systems from Russia. On 12th September, 2017, Moscow confirmed the conclusion of the deal with Turkey. Early, Erdogan informed the prepayment under the contract had been made already. The number of launchers to be provided was not disclosed officially.
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Sources: TASS, Reuters