Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that Moscow is ready to sell its S-400 air defense systems to Turkey, adding that he had discussed the issue with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, RT reported.
“We discussed the possibility of selling S-400s [to Turkey]. We are ready for this,” Putin said in answer to a question from a Turkish reporter at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
“We are ready to deliver these newest and most efficient systems. President Erdoğan and our countries’ militaries are aware of it.”
In April, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık had said: “Work and talks concerning the S-400 have now reached the final stage. There are related processes ongoing in both Turkey and Russia. An important step for a final agreement has been taken.”
“You [NATO] neither share technology and respond to demands for joint production, nor present an offer that is financially effective. Hence, you are not in a position to say ‘Don’t buy a non-NATO system’,” added Işık.
Speaking about cooperation between Moscow and Ankara in assembling the defense systems in Turkey, Putin said it depends on the readiness of the local manufacturing industry.
“At the moment, we don’t produce those systems abroad.”
Currently, Russia and India are jointly producing the Brahmos hypersonic missile, but such projects require massive investment in technologies and human resources, the president said.
“But overall, nothing is impossible,” added Putin, RT reported.
Putin’s statement came amid tension between Turkey and European Union countries over Erdoğan’s way of doing politics.
Eighteen EU countries and Canada will fight for Belgium to host the 2018 NATO summit instead of Turkey, according to a report in the German newspaper Die Welt on Wednesday.
President Erdoğan had invited the leaders of NATO member countries to İstanbul for the 2018 summit during their meeting in Warsaw in July 2016.
“We do not want to enhance Turkey’s international credentials and [we want to] avoid the impression that NATO supports the Turkish government’s internal policy,” a high-ranking NATO diplomat told Die Welt.
Tensions flared earlier this year when some European countries and cities prevented Turkish government officials from campaigning within their borders for a Turkish constitutional referendum designed to help boost Erdoğan’s powers.
In response, Erdoğan accused Europe of conducting “Nazi practices” and threatened to pull out of Turkey’s agreement with the EU designed to prevent migrants from reaching European shores.
In addition, Turkey had also prevented German MPs from visiting German troops stationed at the NATO airbase in İncirlik, southern Turkey.