Turkey won’t give up S-400 deal with Russia
Turkey won't back down from its deal with Moscow for S-400 missiles despite threats of sanctions from the U.S., presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said on Thursday. As Daily Sabah writes in an article "Turkey won’t give up S-400 deal with Russia, presidential spox Kalın says", in an interview with Turkish Bloomberg HT channel, Kalın said "Turkey has the final say on these issues as a sovereign nation. Turkey will decide which defense systems to acquire or from whom."
According to Kalın, the government will always favor having good relations with the U.S. but Turkey "has never been or ever will be a part of an agreement which would exercise any limit on its sovereign rights." The spokesperson added that warnings of possible sanctions serve no benefit to the relation between the two countries, adding that Turkey will take the necessary steps in case of such measures.
"There is no turning back from here. Deals have been made, signatures have been signed . They [S-400 missile systems] will be delivered next year. The transfer of technology was one of the most important things for us. We don't want to just acquire and use this technology, we want to produce it," said Kalın. Kalın also said Turkey would consider buying Patriot missiles or other possible western-manufactured systems if they meet the required conditions.
This week, a U.S. State Department official threatened Ankara that Turkey's purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets would be jeopardized if it does not drop a plan to buy S-400 missile defense systems from Russia. The threat follows a series of warnings from Washington and visits to push back the delivery with more alternatives from the U.S.
In December, Turkey officially signed a $2.5 billion agreement with Russia for the S-400s – Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system. With the move, Turkey is set to become the first NATO member country to acquire the system.
With the S-400s, Ankara aims to build Turkey's first long-range air and anti-missile defense system to to boost its defense capabilities amid threats from PKK and Daesh terrorists at home and conflicts across its borders in Syria and Iraq.
Moreover, Turkey seeks to build its own missile defense systems as the deal also involves the transfer of technology and know-how. The S-400 system, which was introduced in 2007, is the new generation of Russian missile systems, and so far Russia has only sold them to China and India.
The first S-400 is expected to be delivered in early 2020.