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Turkish defense minister comments on S-400 system deal with Russia

The talks have reached the final stage

ANKARA, April 21. /TASS/. Turkey’s National Defense Minister Fikri Isik has said that talks with Russia over a purchase of S-400 air defense systems had reached the final stage.

"This does not mean a deal will be signed immediately," Isik said on April 21.

He told a news conference that NATO countries had not presented a "financially effective" offer on an alternative defense system.

"It is clear that Turkey needs a missile defense system", he said. "Work on the S-400 has reached a final point. But the final stage does not mean 'let's sign a deal tomorrow morning'," he said.

A final decision is to be made by the president and prime-minister. In the middle of March Isik said Turkey would not be able to integrate the S-400 into the NATO system.

The news Turkey and Russia were in talks over an S-400 contract surfaced last November. In March 2017, the chief of Russia's Rostec corporation, Sergey Chemezov, said Turkey would like to obtain a Russian loan to acquire some weapon systems, including the S-400. In February, Chemezov said that Turkey had taken interest in S-400 and the contracting parties were in talks over a likely deal.