Turkey has insisted that they have no plans to reconsider its deal with Russia on the purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, despite some pressure, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
Erdogan made this statement aboard his presidential airliner while returning from his visit to Ukraine. The fragments of his interview with journalists were cited by the NTV television channel.
“The S-400 issue remains an important aspect of our relations with Russia. There is no talk about our backtracking on the S-400 purchase deal,” Erdogan said, replying to a question about how the sanctions imposed by some countries might have their impact on the agreement.
Russia announced in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 billion deal with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ankara. Under the contract, Ankara will get a regiment set of S-400 air defence missile systems (two battalions). The deal also envisages partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side.
Turkey is the first NATO member state to purchase such air-defence missile systems from Russia whose deliveries began on July 12, 2019.
The United States and NATO have been making efforts to deter Turkey from purchasing Russia’s S-400 missile systems. Washington has warned on many occasions that it may impose sanctions on Turkey if Ankara goes ahead with the S-400 deal.
The S-400 ‘Triumf’ is the most advanced long-range air defence missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range weapons, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.