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Turkish defense official confirms deliveries of Russia’s S-400 systems to begin this year

February 08, 0:36 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

The relevant decision has already been made at the supreme level

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© Vitaliy Nevar/TASS

WASHINGTON, February 7. /TASS/. Turkey expects that the delivery of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems to the country will begin this year, Vice President of Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) Celal Sami Tufekci told TASS on Thursday during his visit to the United States.

"We tend to say 2019, this year," the official said after delivering a speech at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Washington.

Tufekci added that the relevant decision has already been made at the supreme level.

During the speech in SETA, Tufekci said Turkey decided to buy Russian-made systems because it was not satisfied by the terms of Washington's proposal to buy US-made Patriot systems.

"What led Turkey to the acquisition of the S-400 was the policy put forward by the US. During the negotiations price was an issue, production location was an issue and technology transfer was an issue," he said.

According to the official, it took US too long to finalize details of its proposal, which was received by Turkey only last month.

Earlier in the day, Turkey’s NTV channel reported citing a US source that the United States will call off the Patriot deal if Turkey persists with its intention to purchase the S-400 missile systems from Russia.

News about Russian-Turkish talks on the delivery of the S-400 systems first came in November 2016. In September 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ankara had signed a contract with Moscow on purchasing the S-400 systems and made an advance payment. Ankara will begin the deployment of the S-400 systems in October 2019, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range ones, and can also be used against ground objectives. The S-400 system can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 35 km.

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