Turkey not yet activating Russian S-400s, says FM Çavuşoğlu

Turkey has not activated the Russian made S-400 missile air defence systems, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said during a televised interview on Wednesday, adding that the system had been purchased because the country needed them “urgently.”

In the two-hour-long live interview aired on Turkey’s pro-government CNNTürk channel, Çavuşoğlu pointed to military personnel, saying they would know the weapon systems better and could explain the current situation.

Turkey purchased the Russian-made systems a year after the failed coup attempt in July 2016, arguing that the country needed a missile defence system sooner rather than later but the U.S. had not responded Turkey’s requests. While U.S. officials disputed the narrative, U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s comments in July 2019, at a bilateral meeting in Japan for the G20 summit, appeared to back it up.

Trump had said his predecessor Barack Obama’s administration’s unwillingness had caused Erdoğan to seek another solution. Still, Turkey was kicked out of the F-35 fifth generation stealth jet fighter program over the purchase last year, following it accepting delivery of the S-400s.

Turkey was set to receive delivery of a second batch of S-400s in 2020, but the delivery was delayed. Presidential Defence Industry Director İsmail Demir said the roadmap for the second set was underway, and had aspects that were not included in the first deal.

“Some important steps included are joint production, technology transfer, and payments,” Demir was cited by defence industry news website Savunma Sanayi ST. “The delivery and other such details have not started, but there is agreement on principle.”

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