Turkey ready to expand S-400 supplies
Turkey may sign another deal with Russia on S-400 missile system deliveries if the United States refuses to supply Patriot air defense system to Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV channel.
"If the U.S. does not want to sell Patriot to us, tomorrow we may buy another S-400 system and we also can purchase other air defense systems," Daily Sabah cited the minister as saying.
According to Cavusoglu, it is absurd to question Turkey's NATO membership over its S-400 deal with Moscow, especially when some NATO countries have Russian S-300 missiles and this doesn't conflict with their membership.
Rebuffing U.S. threats to cancel a deal for F-35 jets if Russia's S-400s are delivered, the Turkish minister said that Ankara could buy fighters jets from another source until it is able to produce its own
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the deliveries of S-400 missile systems to Turkey may be carried out by this July or earlier.
A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Turkey could expand military-technical cooperation with Russia, buying not only its air defense systems, but also fighters. "As for S-400, the only question is how quickly Russia will manage to produce them, if Turkey orders another batch - it takes time, and there are a lot of contracts now: first we need to execute the contract on S-400 with China, then Turkey's current contract until July, next is India. That is, the expansion of supplies is realistic, but obviously it will not happen next year," he noted in the first place.
"If we talk about Ankara's search to replace the F-35 fighter jets, then our Su-35 jet is no worse, it can completely replace the F-35. Of course, the problem is that Turkey has financially invested in the consortium that produces F-35, along with other nine countries, so the Americans are obliged to give Turkey those 100 jets, which were ordered and paid-up, so Ankara will look for ways to get these fighters. But if it is impossible, Turkey can give Russia an order for the Su-35," Viktor Litovkin said.
Professor at Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University Togrul İsmayil recalled that initially Turkey didn't rule out larger purchases of S-400. "If the Americans do not sell their Patriot surface-to-air missile systems, Turkey will have to buy alternative systems to strengthen its defenses, and if the S-400 has already been successfully purchased in Russia, it can buy them again. At the same time, Turkey can only use the S-400 for the internal defense system, as it cannot be integrated into the NATO system," the expert pointed out.
He said that the purchase of Russian fighters is possible if the U.S. did not transfer F-35 jets to Turkey. "Among the countries that can replace these aircraft, Russia stands out for its experience and high quality fighters. Naturally, Turkey will consider aircraft purchases in Russia as an alternative - the Americans are not monopolists in this matter," Togrul İsmayil stressed.