Turkey plans to use the Russian-made S-400 missile systems if the country comes under attack, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on his way back from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"Some ask why are we buying [the S-400 systems] and making such an investment. If the need arises, we will have the right to use them. If someone attacks us, we will employ these air defense systems. This is why we are making such an investment," Erdogan said, as cited by the Hurriyet newspaper.
Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s plans concerning the joint production of the S-400 systems. "As for joint production, we don’t have any issues with Russia. At the very beginning of our talks with President Putin, we reached an agreement on that. I hope that we will launch joint production, there are no problems at the moment. However, those who want us to abandon the S-400 purchase, continue to make speculations," the Turkish president pointed out, TASS reports.
Meanwhile, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on June 29 that the contract for the delivery of the S-400 systems to Turkey envisioned partial technology transfer.
News about Russian-Turkish talks on the delivery of the S-400 systems first came in November 2016. In September 2017, Erdogan announced that Ankara had signed a contract with Moscow on purchasing the S-400 systems and made an advance payment. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said later that Ankara would begin the deployment of the S-400 systems in October 2019. Russia’s Rostec State Corporation Sergei Chemezov said in December 2017 that the deal was worth $2.5 bln.
Meanwhile, the United States continues attempts to stop Turkey from purchasing the Russian missile systems. Washington has stated that it will exclude Ankara from the F-35 program if Turkey buys the S-400 systems.
The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range ones, and can also be used against ground objectives. The S-400 system can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 35 km.