MOSCOW, the Russian Federation, (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Yesterday, the Russian news agency TASS, citing the Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, announced that Turkey will start to deploy the ordered Russian S-400 air defense systems in October, next year. Furthermore, Ankara had already started to recruit military staff responsible for the complexes’ operation and maintenance that is planned undergo such training at a Russian training center in the autumn of 2019, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Although Hulusi Akar’s statement does not say the specific areas of the S-400 systems deployment, it makes clear that the work is under way, confirming the August announcement of the Russian exporter of defense products, Rosoboronexport, that the deliveries will start in 2019. The shortened delivery time, initially planned for early 2020, came after Turkey’s request to speed up the process.
Ankara has continued the process of closing the deal with Russia, though the U.S. and NATO member states have voiced concern about this. It also has neglected the U.S. threats to impose sanctions and to halt other existing procurements. Akar defined the stated concern as “irrelevant” and the S-400 purchase as “a matter of choice for Turkey”, by pointing Turkey’s earlier requests, made to the U.S. and European countries to sell their air defense systems to his state, but no response received so far.
Turkey’s Minister of Defense said: “We are not a country that only buys now, we are a state that creates knowledge and has production opportunities. The agreements we signed contain such provisions and since there are such provisions in the S-400 agreement, we are purchasing these systems.”
Yesterday, the Russian news agency also reported information, stated by a military-diplomatic source, that the S-400 systems are requested by Ankara to be equipped with Russian-made friend-or-foe interrogators, which are compatible with NATO standards. He explained that when the air defense systems were delivered to Turkey, local specialists would insert blocks with NATO codes as well as letter-designated frequencies. The source said that the S-400 missiles would be equipped with a NATO-approved transponder, which would allow alignment with the NATO air defense system. And he added: “”The S-400 deal only includes deliveries; there is no provision on the transfer of technologies or licensed production of missiles in Turkey. The equipment will be delivered in an assembled state.”
According to the cited source, in September or October 2019, about 100 servicemen of the Turkish Army are planned to arrive at the training center of the Russian Defense Ministry, which is located in Gatchina, near St. Petersburg. There, they will undergo five-month training how to operate and maintain the Russian S-400 systems. This period almost coincides with that of their delivery to Turkey.
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