Ankara does not plan to drop out of the deal for the purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Tuesday.
"We have a deal, which is currently being implemented. We are determined. We do not plan to drop out [of the S-400 deal]," the Turkish leader said in an interview with the Haberturk TV channel, TASS reports.
Erdogan reminded that Turkey would wish to purchase US Patriot missile defense systems; however, it has not received a better offer from the side of the US. "We have addressed the US with the offer to create a [working] group [to resolve delivery disputes], and we also offered to purchase Patriot from them. However, we also informed that the terms of the deal must be as advantageous as the ones offered by Russia. If this is so, we will take a step toward Patriot. However, the US has not made an advantageous offer," the president added.
The news about the Russian-Turkish talks on the purchase of S-400 systems first came in November 2016. The Russian side confirmed that the contract had been signed on September 12, 2017. Concurrently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ankara had made an advance payment. Turkey is going to become the first NATO member state to purchase an air defense weapon of this class from Russia.
US officials warn that Turkey’s contract to purchase S-400 missile systems from Russia will severely damage bilateral relations and lead to unilateral US sanctions against Ankara.
Earlier, the Pentagon informed that in order to remain in the F-35 fighter jet program, Turkey needs to drop the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense systems.