Turkey, Saudi Arabia on path to Russian S-400 purchases
ISTANBUL/MOSCOW: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there was no problem with Turkey’s planned purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and talks have also been held on the S500 system, Haberturk and other newspapers reported Friday.
The Interfax news agency meanwhile cited an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying Russia and Saudi Arabia are on track to sign a contract on supplies of the advanced S-400. “The talks are ongoing now, the terms are being agreed,” the agency cited Vladimir Kozhin as saying. He said the contract could be signed “in the nearest time,” giving no further detail.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted Monday as saying NATO member Turkey could seek a deal to acquire a missile
Ankara’s decision has been seen by some as a snub to NATO
defense system with another country if Russia does not agree to joint production of the defense shield.
Speaking to reporters as he returned on his plane from a trip to Ukraine and Serbia, Erdogan said there would be no joint production in the first stage of S-400 purchases, but in the second stage “God willing we will take joint production steps,” Haberturk reported.
“In our talks with Putin we are not thinking of stopping with the S-400s. We have had talks on the S-500s too,” he added, referring to a missile system currently under development.
Ankara’s decision to buy the S400s has been seen in some Western capitals as a snub to NATO, given tensions with Moscow over Ukraine and Syria, while the deal raised concern because the weapons cannot be integrated into the alliance’s defenses.
Such weapons are designed to protect battlefields and strategic sites such as airports and sea ports against airborne threats, including cruise missiles and aircraft.
NATO Secretary-General Jens StoltenbergsaidthisweekTurkeywas not seeking to antagonize the U.S.-led alliance by purchasing the system and is in talks with France and Italy to buy similar weapons. Stoltenberg did not give more details but said Turkey was familiar with the so-called SAMP-T missiles. –