Turkey has already bought the Russian S-400 missile defense systems, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, stressing that it is a done deal, Anadolu reports.
“I’m not saying Turkey will buy S-400 defense systems, it has already bought them; we’ve closed the deal,” Erdogan told his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s group meeting in the capital Ankara.
He noted that Ankara and Moscow signed the deal with a pledge for a reasonable price and future joint production.
“It [S-400 systems] is coming in a short time,” Erdogan added.
Touching on Turkey’s procurement of F-35 fighter jets from the US, Erdogan said his country is not only a customer, but also co-producer of the jets.
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile defense system which Washington said will jeopardize Turkey’s role in the US F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger congressional sanctions.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the US with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400 system.
US officials advised Turkey to buy the US Patriot missile system rather than the S-400s from Moscow, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, emphasized the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.