Turkey says to produce S-500s with Russia after S-400 missile deal

Agence France-Presse . Ankara | Published: 14:05, May 19,2019

 
 

Turkish President TayyipÊErdogan waves to the audience during an iftar dinner at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Turkey, May 12, 2019. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said Turkey and Russia would jointly produce S-500 defence systems after Ankara’s controversial purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Moscow. — Reuters photo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said Turkey and Russia would jointly produce S-500 defence systems after Ankara’s controversial purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Moscow.

Turkey’s push to buy the S-400s has further strained already tense relations with the United States which has repeatedly warned Ankara of the risks including sanctions as a result of the purchase.

‘There is absolutely no question of taking a step back from the S-400s purchase. That is a done deal,’ Erdogan said in Istanbul.

‘There will be joint production of the S-500 after the S-400,’ Erdogan told an audience of young people asking questions.

Ties between NATO allies Turkey and the US have frayed over multiple issues including American support for a Syrian Kurdish militia viewed as terrorists by Ankara and the US failure to extradite a Muslim preacher blamed for the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan.

Washington says the deal with Moscow is a threat to Western defence and in April suspended deliveries of the F-35 stealth fighter jet to Turkey in a bid to halt the purchase.

Turkish pilots are in the US receiving training on the F-35s, manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Turkey is expected to buy 100 of the jets in total.

Erdogan said Turkey conducted technical studies amid US concerns over the compatibility of the S-400s and the F-35s but found there were no issues.

He also insisted ‘sooner or later’ Turkey would receive the F-35 jets.

Despite the threat of sanctions, Erdogan repeated that the S-400s were expected to be delivered in July, ‘but this could be brought forward’, he added.

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