Amid tension between Turkey and the US, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said Ankara has signed a deal with Russia to buy a S-400 missile defense system despite opposition from NATO allies, the Hürriyet daily reported.
“Signatures have been affixed for the purchase of S-400s from Russia. A deposit has also been paid as far as I know,” Erdoğan said.
According to AFP, Moscow confirmed the agreement, with Vladimir Kozhin, Putin’s adviser for military and technical cooperation, saying, “The contract has been signed and is being prepared for implementation.”
Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Director Dmitry Shugaev said on Aug. 24 that all decisions regarding the delivery of Russia’s S-400 missile air defense system to Turkey are in line with Moscow’s geopolitical and strategic interests.
On Aug. 1, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said that Ankara procuring an S-400 anti-missile system from Russia concerns the Pentagon.
“Our only concern about it is one of interoperability. Turkey is a NATO ally. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea for allies to buy interoperable equipment,” said Davis, expressing Pentagon concerns about the damage Russian-made systems could cause to US joint operations with NATO ally Turkey.
Pentagon officials said their concern is about the potential of confusion on the battlefield between Ankara and alliance members due to the use of Russian systems by a NATO ally.
Reacting to critics from the West, Erdoğan in July said “Greece, a member of NATO, has been using the S-300 for years.”
“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’,” said Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık in a statement in April.