Turkey has never pledged it would not deploy Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated on Tuesday.
"We have never promised anyone that we will not deploy or use S-400 systems. We have purchased them because we need air defense systems," the NTV television channel quoted him as saying.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on November 19 he told US President Donald Trump that Ankara would not give up the Russian-made S-400 systems, TASS reports.
Russia announced in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 billion deal with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ankara. Under the contract, Ankara gets a regiment set of S-400 air defense missile systems (two battalions). The deal also envisages partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side.
Turkey is the first NATO member state to purchase such air-defense missile systems from Russia. The deliveries of S-400 air defense systems to Turkey began on July 12, 2019.
The United States and NATO have been making attempts to prevent Turkey from purchasing Russia's S-400 missile systems. Washington has warned on many occasions that it may impose sanctions on Turkey, if Ankara presses ahead with the S-400 deal. On July 17, the press secretary of the US White House said in a written statement that Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems rendered Ankara’s further participation in the US F-35 program impossible.
The S-400 ‘Triumf’ is the most advanced long-range air defense missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.