Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a Russian S-400 air defense system would begin arriving within 10 days, Reuters reported, citing the Turkish media, setting the clock ticking on possible US sanctions after his warm meeting with President Donald Trump on Saturday.
Hard-hit Turkish financial assets jumped on Monday after a weekend in which Erdoğan said Trump had told him at a G20 summit there would be no US sanctions and the US leader said Turkey had been treated unfairly over the missiles deal.
Turkey and the United States, NATO allies, have been at odds over Ankara’s decision to purchase the S-400s, with Washington warning of US sanctions if the delivery took place.
Turkey has dismissed the warnings from Congress and Trump’s top secretaries, saying it would not back down and holding out hope that the White House could protect it from sanctions that could hit its already soft currency and economy.
Erdoğan’s comments offered the most specific timeline yet on the delivery of the ground-to-air missiles that US officials have said are not compatible with NATO defenses.
“Within 10 days, maybe within one week, the first shipment will have arrived. I told this to Trump,” Erdoğan was cited as saying on Sunday by the Hürriyet newspaper after his meeting with Trump in Japan.
The United States says the S-400s will compromise its Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, of which Turkey is a producer and buyer. Washington has also formally started the process of expelling Turkey from the F-35 program, halting the training of Turkish pilots in the United States.
The Turkish lira strengthened 1.6 percent on Monday to below 5.70 against the dollar, and Turkey’s main stock index rallied 2.7 percent. The dispute over the S-400s has been a key concern for investors this year.