Alwaght- Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that the deal to buy S-400 missile systems from Russia has been closed.
"I’m not saying that Turkey is buying S-400 systems. I’m saying that Turkey has already bought them, and this is a done deal. They will be delivered next month," the Turkish leader said in a speech, aired Wednesday by Turkey’s NTV channel.
"We are not going to request anyone’s approval to satisfy our needs regarding the defense industry. Have we not requested the United States to sell defense systems to the US? We did, but they said ‘no.’ We were told that the US Congress would never let this happen," he continued.
President Erdogan also expressed hope that Russia and Turkey would launch joint production of those systems soon.
"We signed this contract not just because the price was good, but also for the opportunity of joint production. I hope we would begin it soon," he added.
Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Alexey Yerkhov, assured earlier on Wednesday that Moscow would honor all its commitments under the deal. "Russia has assumed certain obligations to the Turkish Republic, and Russia will fairly fulfill those obligations. For that, joint efforts of experts from our countries will be required," the diplomat said.
The United States has been seeking to break down the deal. It has repeatedly warned Turkey that in case it buys the Russian missile systems it would not get F-35 fighter jets.
Russia’s S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-range antiaircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and surface targets. The system can hit aerodynamic targets at a range of up to 400 kilometers (249 miles) and tactical ballistic targets flying at a speed of 4.8 km/s (3 mi/s) at a distance of up to 60 kilometers (37 miles). Such targets include cruise missiles, tactical and strategic aircraft, and ballistic missile warheads.