Ankara [Turkey]: Ankara and Moscow would initiate talks on the joint production of S-500 air defence system, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, adding that the purchase of the S-400 system from Russia was “complete”.
The two countries had signed a loan agreement for the delivery of the S-400 system in December 2017 after engaging in hectic negotiations for a year. The move was highly criticised by the United States and NATO, reported Sputnik.
“The S-400 deal is completed. Under the contract, the deliveries are to begin in July or, maybe, even earlier.
Russia has offered us very good conditions. After that, we will talk about the S-500, including joint production [of these systems], as well as S-400,” Erdogan said at a meeting with the youth, as broadcast by the NTV channel.
The development is likely to further strain the already fragile US-Turkey relations.
Pentagon has repeatedly said that it may eliminate Turkey form a programme on creating F-35 multi-role fighters over the latter’s deal to buy Russian S-400 defence system. Ankara, in turn, has said that purchase of these defensive weapons is its sovereign affair, ruling out the possibility of abandoning its plans.
The Turkish President added that the US had already handed over five F-35 fighters to Turkey. He expressed confidence that Washington would fulfil all its obligations to Ankara under the F-35 programme.