Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed that the S-400 missile system supply contract is finished business. The supplies are expected in the first half of July, the Turkish leader told a closed-door conversation with representatives of foreign mass media, including TASS, on Thursday.
"As I was saying earlier, the topic of S-400 is finished business for both us and Russia. Our specialists have undergone the needed training. We expect the supplies to begin in the first half of the next month," Erdogan said. He also pointed out that the relation between Moscow and Ankara are that of "long-lasting nature".
The news about the Russian-Turkish talks on the purchase of S-400 systems first emerged in November 2016. Moscow confirmed that the contract had been signed on September 12, 2017. Erdogan announced that Ankara had made an advance payment. Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar said that the deployment of the S-400 systems will begin in October 2019, TASS reports.
The United States has been taking vigorous efforts to prevent Turkey from purchasing Russia’s S-400 air defense systems. Earlier, the Pentagon stated that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system jeopardized Ankara’s participation in a program on creating advanced US F-35 multirole fighters.
Russia’s S-400 ‘Triumf’ (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-and medium-range surface-to-air missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of up to 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km under intensive enemy fire and jamming.