Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli on Sunday said the purchase of the S-400 air defense system from Russia has been completed, underlining that Turkey is now working with the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium to develop its own defense system, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
“It is finished, the S-400 missiles have been bought,” Canikli told reporters in the Black Sea province of Giresun.
“Turkey has also made preliminary agreements with the EUROSAM countries to develop, produce and use its air defense system in order to improve its long-term domestic capabilities,” added the minister.
Turkey signed a letter of intent with France and Italy on Nov. 8 to strengthen cooperation on joint defense projects including air and missile defense systems.
Canikli, French Defense Minister Florence Parly and Italian Defense Minister Robert Pinotti attended the signing ceremony.
As a first step, the EUROSAM consortium and Turkish companies will look into a system based on the SAMP-T missile system produced by EUROSAM and determine the common needs of the three countries, Turkish media reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced in September that Ankara had signed a deal with Russia to buy an S-400 missile defense system despite opposition from NATO allies. Erdoğan also criticized Turkey’s NATO allies for reacting negatively to Turkey’s decision to purchase an S-400 missile system from Russia and said they have gone crazy.
As a reaction Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael said the US has relayed its concerns to Turkish officials over the purchase. Michael said that a NATO inter-operable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in the region.
NATO also stated in September that Turkey had not informed the alliance of the details of its agreement to purchase an S-400 air defense system from Russia.