S-400 purchase is a done deal, says Turkey’s Erdoğan
Turkey will not renege on plans to purchase S-400 missile systems from Russia and Ankara is also interested in buying U.S.-made Patriot batteries, NTV quoted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as saying on Saturday.
Ankara signed a contract with Moscow worth a reported $2.5 billion in December 2017 for the purchase of the S-400s despite objections from its NATO allies, who are concerned that the system could collect data on NATO jets and undermine their defences
Washington set Feb. 15 as an informal deadline for Turkish government to respond a rival U.S. offer regarding a $3.5-billion sale of Patriot air defence batteries to Turkey. A U.S. delegation that visited Ankara last month reportedly said the cancellation of the S-400 deal was a prerequisite for the purchase of American system.
The formal U.S. offer for Turkey’s purchase of Patriot systems expires at the end of March, Reuters quoted U.S. officials as saying.
The U.S. Congress also passed legislation last year to block the sale of F-35 advanced fighter jets to Turkey should the Turkish government take delivery of the Russian missiles.
“We made the S-400 deal with Russia, so it is out of the question for us to turn back,” Erdoğan told reporters on his way back from a trilateral summit in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.
When it comes to the Patriots, we are open to buying them. However, this purchase needs to serve the interests of our country," Erdoğan said.
Joint production, financing, and early delivery are critical issues for Ankara in relation to the purchase of Patriot systems, Erdoğan said.
“The U.S. administration views the early delivery issue positively, but they do not say much about joint production or a credit. We continue our work based on the promise of S-400s to be delivered in July,” NTV quoted Erdoğan as saying.