Erdogan set to discuss S-400 missile systems with Putin: Turkish minister
Iran Press TV
Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:46PM
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to discuss a contract for buying the advanced S-400 long-range air missile defense system during an upcoming meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Turkey's defense minister says.
Defense Minister Fikri Isik said on Monday that President Erdogan would discuss the deal during a planned meeting with Putin on May 3.
"I suppose after Erdogan's talks with Putin a joint decision will be made on further steps for purchasing Russia's missile system," Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency quoted the minister as saying on Monday.
The defense minister added that more information on the contract and implementation of some projects will be provided later.
Isik had already told a press conference on Friday that Turkey had reached the "final stage" of talks with Russia to purchase the missile system.
Back in February, Isik announced that talks with Russian officials over the purchase had "progressed significantly," but sealing the deal was not expected in the near future.
Russia's S-400 system is designed for high-efficiency defense against airstrikes utilizing various kinds of ballistic missile attacks. It is capable of striking dynamic targets in the air at a distance of around 400 kilometers moving at a speed of almost five kilometers per second at various altitudes.
The news of the S-400 negotiations between Ankara and Moscow surfaced in November 2016, a year after Turkey walked out of a $3.4-billion contract for a similar Chinese system, namely FD-2000, the export version of HQ-9, claiming that Beijing was unwilling to finalize the deal.
Turkey's preference for using Chinese defense systems caused concern among other NATO members at the time, primarily because the HQ-9 system was incompatible with the equipment used by the US-led Western military bloc.
In 2015, Ankara was also angered by Washington's decision to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile battery from Turkey's border with Syria. The move initially prompted the Anatolian country to consider developing an indigenous missile system, but that stance later shifted.
Senior officials in Moscow have already said that Russia could sell missile systems to Turkey in light of a rapprochement between the two countries.
In June 2016, Turkey and Russia put an end to seven months of strained relations, when Erdogan wrote a letter to his Russian counterpart, apologizing for the Turkish military's downing of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 during an anti-terror mission in Syrian skies near the Turkish border.
The Russian fighter jet went down in the mountainous Jabal Turkmen area of the Syrian western province of Latakia on November 24, 2015. The pilot lost his life in the crash, while Syrian government forces rescued the Russian navigator on board.
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