Erdogan: Contract on Russian S-400 'a done deal'
Iran Press TV
Thu Jun 13, 2019 09:58AM
Turkey's contract with Russia over the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile systems is a "done deal," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says, once again rejecting US warnings not to go ahead with the purchase.
President Erdogan made the remark in a meeting with his AK Party members on Wednesday, also expressing hope that the advanced surface-to-air missile defense systems would be delivered in July.
"Turkey has already bought S-400 defense systems. It is a done deal. I hope these systems will be delivered to our country next month," Erdogan said.
Turkey and the United States have been at loggerheads for months over Ankara's purchase order for the S-400s, which the US claims are incompatible with NATO systems and the Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 stealth fighters.
Washington has given Ankara until the end of July to abandon its purchase of the Russian missile defense systems or see another deal – for the purchase of F-35s from the US – canceled.
The Pentagon announced on Friday that if Turkey did not give up on the S-400 systems by July 31, Ankara would be blocked from purchasing F-35 fighter jets and the Turkish pilots currently training in the US would be expelled.
On Monday, the US grounded Turkish F-35 pilots in Arizona over the S-400 contract with Russia, the Pentagon announced.
During his speech on Wednesday, the Turkish president said he will seek answers on his country's "exclusion from F-35 project for reasons that have no rational or legitimate basis."
Erdogan also said he hoped to persuade the US not to exclude Turkey from taking part in the F-35 fighter jet program when he meets US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan later this month.
The S-400 is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.
Ankara is striving to boost its air defense, particularly after Washington decided in 2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from Turkish soil.
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