Turkey not considering a new S-400 purchase - spokesman

Turkey will not step back from its acquisition of Russian S-400 air defence missiles despite pressure from NATO allies, but is not considering a buying any more, presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Wednesday.

The United States halted the delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey and removed Turkish companies from the joint manufacturing programme of the stealth fighters, after the first shipments of S-400 components began to arrive at an airbase near Ankara in July. However, Turkey has yet to deploy any of the S-400s.

Turkey risks U.S. sanctions as a result of its purchase of the Russian surface-to-air missile systems as military experts say that if they were operated alongside NATO jets it would allow Russia to glean data on the aircraft’s defences.

Following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump last week, the two countries agreed to work towards establishing a joint mechanism to ease tensions over the F-35 programme and S-400 missiles.

Kalın said the Turkish side would present its suggestions to U.S. counterparts during a NATO summit in London in early December. 

“Of course I want to underline once more … there will be no step back on the issue of the S-400s,” Kalın said. “For us, this is not a problem that cannot be solved. The S-400 issue is not something that poses an existential threat to the F-35 programme as claimed,” he said. 

“There is no talk at the moment of signing a new deal,” Kalın told reporters about future plans to buy additional Russian batteries. 

Kalın’s comment came after a Russian official in charge of overseeing military cooperation between Russia and foreign countries told Bloomberg on Monday that Turkey was considering buying more S-400 missiles.