Erdogan says Turkey has already bought Russian S-400 defense systems

Evarado Alatorre
Junio 13, 2019

Ankara has already bought a Russian anti-aircraft missile system, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his AK party members on Wednesday.

It was reported earlier that the first S-400s would reach Turkish soil in July; the air defence system acquisition will make Turkey the fourth country after Russia, Belarus and China to own the weapon.

Turkey and the United States have sparred publicly for months over Ankara's order for the S-400s, which the U.S. says are incompatible with NATO's defence network and pose a threat to US F-35 fighter jets that Turkey also plans to buy. The US and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members fear Russian Federation could spy on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aircraft through the S-400 system.

United States acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan outlined last week how Turkey would be pulled out of the F-35 fighter jet program unless Ankara changed course from its plans to purchase the S-400 missile defense system.

The Pentagon announced on Friday that if Turkey did not give up on the S-400 system by July 3, Ankara would be blocked from purchasing F-35 fighter jets and Turkish pilots now training in the United States would be expelled.

"We will call to account in every platform Turkey being excluded from the F-35 program for reasons without rationale or legitimacy". Washington issued a counteroffer, offering Turkey a $3.5-billion contract for a contingent of Patriot PAC-3s.

During a visit to Moscow in April, Erdogan said Russian Federation and Turkey must "strengthen cooperation in the military-technical sphere".

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Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defence system from the USA with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400 system. "I hope these systems will be delivered to our country next month", Erdogan said.

Touching on Turkey's procurement of F-35 fighter jets from the U.S., Erdogan said his country is not only a customer, but also co-producer of the jets.

"We have so far paid $1.250bn", he said.

"However, unfortunately, the U.S. side has not given us an offer as good as the S-400s", he said.

"This is not an attack system but a defence system".

"Did we ask for such a defence system from America? No, they didn't", he said. Ankara has proposed that the two allies form a working group to assess the impact but says it has yet to hear back from Washington.

The US has also threatened to hit Turkey with sanctions if it goes ahead with the deal.

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