Turkey not to give up on Russia’s S-400: Erdogan

TEHRAN, Nov. 16 (MNA) – The Turkish president said that his country will not stop using Russian S-400 air defense system to acquire US Patriots.

"It is out of question to completely leave Russian S-400 to buy U.S. Patriots. We can buy Patriots too. However, we will buy S-400 as well," Erdogan told reporters in his flight en route to Ankara from Washington, Hurriyet Daily reported.

"Turkey can buy US Patriots, but we consider offers to buy just Patriots and completely put Russian S-400s aside as an interference in our sovereignty rights," Erdogan added.

Turkey's acquisition of the advanced Russian air-defense system prompted the Trump administration to remove Turkey from the F-35 fifth-generation joint strike fighter program in July.

The US maintains that the system could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the jet and is incompatible with NATO systems.

Turkey, however, counters that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Russia dispatched its S-400 missile systems to Turkey in early July, 2019.

Turkish President said at the time that the S-400 system was being loaded onto planes to be dispatched to Turkey. However, he declined to announce an exact delivery date.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said then that the delivery of the missile system to Ankara proceeded in accordance with the contract.

Moscow and Ankara signed a loan agreement for the delivery of S-400 systems in December 2017. Turkish cooperation with Russia on this matter has been strongly criticized by NATO and the United States, which has cited security concerns and the S-400's incompatibility with NATO's air defense systems.

MNA/PR

News Code 152331

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