Russia’s S-400 missile defence systems purchased by Turkey is ready to be commissioned, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told CNN Turk TV channel on Thursday.
“We follow the rules of the game and proceed from main principles. We heard statements like ‘you cannot purchase them, you cannot deliver them’. Our president gave a relevant necessary response and accepted S-400. No one should doubt that S-400 will be commissioned. Works will start around April,” Akar said.
This development comes amid reports of deepening tensions between Russia and Turkey. Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the results of negotiations with Russia over Idlib as “unsatisfactory.” The Turkish leader indicated that Ankara’s military operation in the north-west of the Arab Republic is just a “matter of time” where it could confront Russia.
As EurAsian Times reported earlier, the two-day talks in the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation were held behind closed doors with the participation of diplomats, representatives of the Ministry of Defense and special representatives from Russia and Syria.
The Russian delegation was led by the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Syrian Settlement Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, while the Turkish side was represented by the Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal.
In Feb2020, Turkey insisted that there are no plans to reconsider its deal with Russia on the purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, despite some pressure referring to the US.
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.
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.