Turkey may buy more Russian air defense systems S-400

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MOSCOW – Chances are Russia is likely to get a new contract to deliver air defense systems to Turkey, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said on Saturday.

Moscow and Ankara signed in 2017 a purchase and sale agreement with delivery of the S-400 systems to Turkey. Deliveries have begun to take place in recent months.

“I think there is a high probability. They have this option, they have the right to implement it,” Borisov told reporters, answering whether new air defense system delivery contracts to Turkey are possible.

Earlier this week, a group of US senators tabled a legislative proposal proposing comprehensive mandatory sanctions against Turkey under its agreement to buy Russian S-400 systems.

The deal with Russia prompted the US to suspend Ankara’s participation in the joint F-35 fighter development program.

Washington is concerned that the Russian system will share airspace with F-35 fighters. However, Turkey says these concerns are unfounded and insists that its intention to own S-400 systems does not alter its decision to participate in the F-35 fighter development program.

Turkey has bought Russian S-400 air defense systems because it does not want to be an eternal beggar at NATO, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

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On Friday, in a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is visiting Turkey, the Turkish prime minister said that until today Turkey does not have its own anti-aircraft defense system.

“At our request, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain have installed their Patriot systems in Turkey. All of these systems are very good, but they are temporary solutions. First they are installed, then removed, and then reinstalled,” Cavusoglu explained.

“I’m not criticizing, it’s a natural rotation, and I sincerely thank our allies for their help. But it shows that we need our air defense system. We shouldn’t be eternal beggars. That’s why we bought the S-400,” he added.

The supply of the latest anti-aircraft defense systems, which caused a crisis in Turkish-American relations, began in mid-July. In September, the second phase of delivery of the S-400 was completed.

According to Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, Russian systems will be fully operational by April 2020.

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