Erdogan: S-400 could be delivered earlier than scheduled

Turkish President says delivery of Russian missile defense systems could be earlier than initially planned.

Elad Benari,

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that the delivery of the Russian S-400 missile defense systems could be earlier than initially planned, AFP reported.

"The S-400 missile defense system was to be delivered in July, maybe we will bring this forward," Erdogan was quoted as having told Turkish journalists on board his plane after a Russia visit, the local Hurriyet newspaper said.

Erdogan was in Moscow on Monday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the S-400 purchase and joint coordination in Syria on the agenda.

"This step that we have taken for our country's security neither targets a third country nor does it give our sovereign rights over to a third country," Erdogan said.

Ankara's push to buy the systems from Moscow has caused tensions with the US, its NATO ally.

The US believes the S-400 sale is part of Russian efforts to disrupt the alliance amid Western concern over Erdogan's burgeoning relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

US officials said last week that Washington had stopped delivery of F-35 fighter jet parts to Turkey in response to Ankara's decision to move ahead with the purchase of the Russian surface-to-air missile system.

Turkish officials insist that the deal to purchase the S-400 does not affect the security of the US and have stressed that they will go ahead with the deal despite Washington’s objections.

In a bid to stop Turkey purchasing the S-400s, the US has offered to sell the US Patriot system but Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said this was not guaranteed.

"If the United States does not want to sell the Patriot, tomorrow we can buy a second S-400, or another defense system," he was quoted as having said during an interview with the local NTV broadcaster.

He said Turkey did not only need the S-400s but also "other defense systems".




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