S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system after deployment
S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system after deployment Reuters

Turkey will use the S-400 missile defense system it has bought from Russia despite the US threat of sanctions, a senior defense official said Saturday, according to AFP.

Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system, which the United States says is not compatible with NATO defenses and poses a threat to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 “stealth” fighter jet.

The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were delivered to Turkey in July. Russia then delivered a second battery of S-400s in August.

US has threatened Turkey with sanctions, but said it would be spared from these measures under a 2017 law if the S-400 system is not turned on.

"It is not a correct approach to say 'we will not use for someone else's sake' a system we had purchased out of our need and we paid that amount of money," Ismail Demir, the head of the Defense Industry Directorate, a government body, told private CNN Turk broadcaster on Saturday.

"We will do our duty and (the system) will become usable. How it will be used is a decision to be made later," he added.

"We should respect the agreement we signed and that's what suits us as a country."

The issue was raised in talks in Washington this week between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump.

Trump said that Turkey's controversial acquisition created "serious challenges" for Washington as he added officials would "immediately" get to work on resolving the issue.

Washington reacted to Turkey's purchase of the S-400 by removing the country off its F-35 fighter jet program.

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