Turkey says purchase of Russian S-400 missiles 'done deal'

Ankara rejects US missiles, says purchase of Russian S-400 system a 'done deal'
2 min read
26 February, 2019
Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system was a 'done deal', Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.
Russia's missile defense system is thought to be one of the world's best [TASS]

Ankara's purchase of Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft missile defence system is a "done deal" despite warnings from the US, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

Washington had earlier attempted to persuade Turkey to buy its own Patriot missile defense system.

US and NATO officials warned Ankara that the Russian S-400 could not be integrated into the NATO defence system, and that Turkey risked both jeopardising its purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 jets from the US and having sanctions imposed.

The US is concerned that the S-400 poses security risks to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project, a Turkish official told Hurriyet Daily News last week.

"There is no need to make any statements regarding S-400, this is a done deal. Turkey will never backtrack on its earlier promises. What others say does not concern us," the foreign minister said in an interview with CNN Turk.

The US formally made an offer of its Patriot system in January to Turkey, on the condition that Ankara scrap the S-400 deal with Russia. Although the offer does not expire until March, Cavusoglu's statement that Ankara's $2.5 billion deal with Russia may mean that expiry date will cease to matter. Turkish officials last week said negotiations are still ongoing.

Russia has utilised the S-400 system in its military operations in Syria. The missile system first made its way to the Hmeimim Air Base in Lattakia after the Turkish military downed a Russian jet which it claimed entered Turkish airspace in 2015.

Turkey's weapons deal with Russia is a sign of how far Ankara has come in its dealings with the country since then.

After Turkey's downing of the Russian jet, tensions soared, and previously high trade and travel between the two countries plummeted.

Ankara and Moscow made up the next year, avoiding tensions of the assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov in 2016.

The countries have since become increasingly cooperative over Syria, where both are entangled in ongoing military operations and political negotiations to end the war.

The first S-400 system will be delivered to Turkey in July and will be operational by October, Ismail Demir, Turkish undersecretary for the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, said last week.

Input from agencies