Kremlin says Turkey mulling purchase of Russian air defense system

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / SERGEI GUNEEV / AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / SERGEI GUNEEV

According to a statement released by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, Turkey and Russia discussed the possible provision of Russian air defense systems to Ankara during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Turkey this week.

The statement was made on Friday, with Peskov saying that military cooperation was on the agenda of Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when they met in İstanbul. “Various air defense systems have been mentioned, which, if Turkey wishes, Russia could consider supplying in a number of configurations,” Peskov told reporters.

Since Turkey is a NATO ally, it remains to be seen whether such cooperation could lead to a crisis in Turkey’s relations with the Alliance, which was originally established to contain a Russian threat.

Turkey had considered purchasing missile systems from China in the last couple of years but retreated from the decision due to the incompatibility of China’s system with that of NATO.

Turkish-Russian relations went sour after the former downed a Russian jet over the Syrian-Turkish border in November 2015. Erdoğan apologized to Putin in June to mend fences after Russia imposed sanctions on Turkey.

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