Turkey and Russia will develop an S-500 air defense system, stated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as reported by Deutsche Welle.
“Russia offered us a very good deal,” Erdogan said at a meeting with students in Istanbul, referring to the delivery of S-400 missile systems which, according to the agreement, will take place in July 2019.
Once again, he noted that the purchase of S-400 counter-air defense systems from the Russian Federation is “a done deal”.
“Subsequently, the discussion will be about the S-500, including their joint production,” the Turkish president added.
Turkey’s intention to acquire the Russian S-400 counter-air defense systems has led to a rise in tensions within NATO. Specifically, the United States and Ankara’s other partners in the military bloc worry that if the country uses a Russian air defense system, the Kremlin may get private information about military F-35 aircraft manufactured for NATO by American corporation Lockheed Martin.
To protest the impending deal, Washington suspended Turkey’s participation in jet bomber development and threatened further sanctions.
When answering the students’ questions on Turkey’s NTV channel, Erdogan expressed confidence that the United States would respect its obligations to Ankara under the F-35 program.
“It [the United States] made a pass to the center of the field, demonstrating its unwillingness [to compromise]. But sooner or later we will receive an F-35. The United States refusing to make the delivery is not an option,” the Turkish leader said.
Currently, Turkey is in a difficult economic situation, in part because of pressure from the United States. The country’s economy at the end of 2018 has seen the strongest decline since the financial crisis of 2009.
From October to December 2018, Turkey’s GDP decreased by three percent. Moreover, since the end of 2017, the rate of the Turkish lira has fallen by almost 30 percent.