Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday said Turkey would take delivery of the first Russian S-400 missile batteries by late 2019, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
“The first batteries will be delivered towards the end of the next year,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Brussels, where he is attending a NATO summit.
Çavuşoğlu said in addition to the US, other NATO member states have questioned the purchase but said this must end.
“We can understand the technical part. For example, it is normal for them to ask whether the S-400 recognizes NATO, NATO systems or allies as an enemy. We are also sensitive to this issue,” he said.
“We lay down our conditions in this regard when making the purchase,” he added.
Last December, Turkey announced it had concluded an agreement with Russia for the purchase of two S-400 systems by early 2020.
This April both parties agreed on the early delivery of the systems.
The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system, with the ability to carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.
In June the US Senate passed a bill that could be used to block or slow the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, citing the S-400 purchase as well as Turkey’s detention of US citizens.
Çavuşoğlu also rebuffed claims that Turkey is turning away from NATO.
“If our NATO allies were to meet these needs of ours, we would get [the missile systems] from them; we gave them priority,” he said.