No turning back on S-400 deal – Turkish govt spokesman
Turkey’s purchase of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia is Turkey’s decision alone to make and will go ahead despite protests from its NATO allies, Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said during an interview on Bloomberg TV.
Turkey, as a sovereign country, would make such decisions at its own discretion, said Kalın, adding that it would decide which defence systems to buy and from whom.
The planned purchase from Russia, signed last September for an estimated $2.5 billion, has worried Turkey’s allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, who fear the Russian-made system could damage NATO defence system’s interoperability and potentially open a back door through which Russia could NATO military data.
A bill has been pushed through at the United States Congress proposing sanctions are placed on Turkey for its purchase of the missiles and for the imprisonment of Andrew Brunson, a U.S. pastor arrested for alleged links to the Gülen movement, a religious group accused of plotting the 2016 coup attempt.
Kalın hit back during the interview to say there was no article in the NATO agreement preventing allied countries from purchasing weapons systems from outside the alliance, and said the court would decide on the Brunson case.
With the deal already signed, Kalın said Turkey would press on with it, with the first delivery of the system expected next year.
Turkey also intends to become a producer of the S-400 technology, said Kalın.