Turkey will purchase an additional Russian S-400 anti-air missile systems if it cannot buy a Patriot system from the US, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, as cited by the Anadolu news agency.
“We still have a need for such systems, and it will persist until we can produce our own. If we are able to buy the equivalent from the US, we will buy a Patriot system, but if that doesn’t work out, we will buy another S-400 from Russia,” he told the International Strategic Forum in Bled, Slovenia.
He added that Turkey is an independent country with respect to its choice of weapons.
In 2017, Turkey signed a $2.5 billion contract to purchase four S-400 aerial defense systems from Russia. The first planes with components for the systems arrived in Ankara in July, and there have been more than 30 such flights since then. Turkish President Recep Erdogan said that Turkey will start using the systems next spring, after they have been installed and the personnel have been trained.
The US is highly critical of Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400s. The US Senate urged US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey, because it considers such a partnership with Russia dangerous, harmful to Turkey and to NATO as a whole. The White House also said that the S-400 deal will make it impossible for Turkey to continue its involvement in the F-35 fifth-generation multirole combat aircraft program. Shortly thereafter, Trump confirmed that Ankara would no longer be permitted to purchase F-35s.