Ankara (July 27, 2017): Turkey has made progress in plan to procure an S-400 missile defense system from Russia and has signed a deal in this regard.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his lawmakers, “Steps have been taken and signatures signed with Russia concerning the S-400s. God willing we will see the S-400s in our country.”
NATO member Turkey said in April it had reached a “final stage” in talks to procure the air missile defense system.
Turkey will not be able to integrate the Russian S-400 into the NATO system, and its decision to purchase the Russian-made missile system has added to doubts about the health of Turkey’s relationship with NATO and the EU.
Western policymakers have expressed consternation about the move. “The problem is, how do you interoperate in the NATO system with Russians? They’ll never interoperate,” US Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters on July 14. “We’ll have to see — does it go through? Do they actually employ it? Do they employ it only in one area? All that kind of stuff. But you know, we’ll have to take a look at it.”
The S-400 purchase includes an agreement allowing Ankara to produce some missiles domestically, which appears to further Turkey’s goal of developing the capacity of its own defense industry.
On July 16, Erdogan accused the EU of “messing us about,” citing the bloc’s broken promises over issues like visa deals and Syrian migrants. “We will sort things out for ourselves,” he said. “There’s no other option.”