Turkey reiterates ‘no delay in Russian S-400s delivery’

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AFP PHOTOS

Turkey on Wednesday reiterated that there will be no delay in the delivery of a Russian S-400 air defense system, an issue that has stoked tensions with the US, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“A delay or suspension [in the delivery of the S-400s] is out of the question. Nor is it on the agenda,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters.

“The procurement is a ‘done deal’,” he added.

AA also reported a statement by Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov, who said on Tuesday that implementation of the deal for the delivery, which is currently scheduled for July, is in full swing despite US pressure.

Speaking at a press conference in Sochi, Ushakov said Moscow is aware of US attempts to persuade Turkey to suspend the deal.

“We know what the Americans are insisting. But implementation of the agreement, which was reached a few months ago, is in full swing,” he said.

Reuters reported on Monday that the US asked Turkey to delay taking delivery of the system in return for potentially approving the formation of a working group that Ankara has sought to establish in order to assess whether the S-400 would pose a threat to NATO or not.

US officials have called Turkey’s planned purchase of the S-400s “deeply problematic,” saying it would risk Ankara’s partnership in the joint strike fighter F-35 program because it would compromise the jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The US and other NATO allies that own F-35s fear the radar on the system will learn how to spot and track the jet, making it less able to evade Russian weapons.

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