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Turkey to send Russia missile experts home in signal to Biden

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) attends a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) in Ankara, on June 17, 2016 [ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images]
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) attends a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) in Ankara, on June 17, 2016 [ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images]

Turkey said it will send home Russian missile experts overseeing the S-400 air defence technology that has strained ties with the United States, addressing one of Washington's concerns with the system while ruling out scrapping it altogether, Bloomberg reports.

The remarks signal Ankara's readiness to compromise on one element of US concerns regarding the S-400 missile system.

Last year, the US argued that the S-400 could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the Lockheed Martin F-35 jets.

Turkey has, however, consistently maintained that the S-400 structures would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Washington has said Turkey should end the presence of Russian personnel who are providing training and assembling the missile defence system.

Late last month, Turkey's Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said he had told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Ankara's purchase of the Russian missile defence system was "a done deal".

"On the S-400s, we reminded them once again why Turkey had to buy them and repeated that Turkey had bought them and this is a done deal," Cavusoglu told reporters in Brussels.

READ: Turkey releases new drone after it's removed from F-35 programme

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