ANKARA, July 8. /TASS/. Preparations continue to dispatch Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system to Turkey and an operation to load them onto a transport plane is underway, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced at a news conference on Monday.
"The preparations for the dispatch [of S-400 system] continue. The loading is underway. There are agreed dates for S-400 deliveries," the Turkish president said.
According to Erdogan, "the National Defense Ministry is currently planning and selecting a site for the deployment of S-400." The Turkish leader said he was sure that the Russian-made S-400 missile system would have a positive effect on the security of both Turkey and the entire region.
The Turkish TV Channel Haberturk reported on Friday, citing sources, that the shipment of the Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to Turkey could begin on July 7. According to the TV channel’s data, the first S-400 system was due to be loaded onto a transport plane to be delivered next week.
Haberturk also reported that nine Russian technical specialists would arrive in Turkey before Monday to help deploy S-400 missile system. During the first stage, one S-400 set will be delivered to Ankara, the TV channel reported.
Head of Turkey’s Defense Industries Directorate Ismail Demir stated on Thursday that the S-400 deliveries might begin next week. The Russian side did not name the exact date for the commencement of the deliveries.
The first reports about the talks between Russia and Turkey on the deliveries of S-400 air defense missile system emerged in November 2016. Russia confirmed in September 2017 that the relevant contract had been signed. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar earlier said that the deployment of S-400 surface-to-air missile system might begin in October 2019.
CEO of Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov noted in December 2017 that the S-400 deal was worth $2.5 billion.
The United States is making attempts to prevent Turkey from purchasing S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. Washington earlier warned that it might deny Turkey the purchase of F-35 fighter-bombers, if Ankara pressed ahead with the S-400 deal.
The S-400 ‘Triumf’ is the most advanced long-range air defense missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.