ANKARA – The acquisition of the S-400 from Russia was for Turkey a necessity, not its preference, said Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar in a conversation with Pentagon Acting Secretary Mark Esper. TASS reported on this with reference to the Turkish Defense Ministry.
Two ministers held telephone conversations, the main theme of which was the supply of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems.
“They discussed deliveries of air defense systems to Turkey and the latest events in Syria. Akar recalled that threats to the air were made to Turkey from the point of view of air defense, and therefore the acquisition of the S-400 was a necessity, not its preference, ” the Turkish Defense Ministry said.
Hulusi Akar recalled that the proposal of the Turkish side to establish a joint working group with the US and NATO to resolve differences due to the supply of C-400 is still in force.
The Turkish Foreign Minister previously stated that there are no problems with the supply of S-400, the process of purchasing these defensive systems continues in a normal waye.
On Friday Russia started the delivery of S-400 air defense missile systems to the Turkish client. The first equipment under the Russian-Turkish contract was delivered from Akhtubinsk (Astrakhan Region) to the Turkish Air Force base near Ankara.
Russia and Turkey signed an agreement to supply Ankara with the S-400 Triumph SAM system in 2017. Turkey acquired four S-400 divisions, the contract amount is $ 2.5 billion. The delivery of the first S-400 batteries to the Turkish side is expected in July of this year, and in October they will take up combat duty.
For their part, the US has threatened sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of the Russian system, telling Ankara that they must purchase US systems instead. But Ankara has informed Washington that the American system are both of a lesser quality and over-priced, even if the quality were better.