Ankara (September 13, 2017): Turkey has signed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 missile defence system in its first major weapons purchase from Moscow.
The accord for the surface-to-air missile defence batteries is also Ankara’s most significant deal with a non-NATO supplier.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to journalists, “Signatures have been made for the purchase of S-400s from Russia. A deposit has also been paid as far as I know.”
“(Russian President Vladimir Putin) and myself are determined on this issue,” he added. The purchase of the missile systems from a non-NATO supplier will raise concerns in the West over their technical compatibility with the alliance’s equipment.
The Pentagon has already sounded the alarm, saying bluntly that “generally it’s a good idea” for NATO allies to buy inter-operable equipment.
Erdogan said Turkey was free to make military acquisitions based on its defence needs. “Nobody has the right to discuss the Turkish republic’s independence principles or independent decisions about its defence industry,” he said in the comments published on Tuesday.
“We make the decisions about our own independence ourselves, we are obliged to take safety and security measures in order to defend our country,” he added. The Turkish leader said the process would continue with a transfer of Russian credit to Turkey.
Moscow also confirmed the accord, with Vladimir Kozhin, Putin’s adviser for military and technical cooperation, saying: “The contract has been signed and is being prepared for implementation.”
He said that the S-400 was one of the most complex systems, made up of a whole range of technical materials.
“I can only guarantee that all decisions taken on this contract strictly comply with our strategic interests,” he said. “For this reason we fully understand the reactions of several Western countries which are trying to put pressure on Turkey”.