MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. Ankara will not give up Russia’s S-400 missile defense systems even if it acquires US-made Patriot systems, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday on his return from Washington.
"We told the US that if they make us an offer for Patriot systems under suitable conditions, we will buy them. However, we find the [US] offer to completely abandon S-400 completely incorrect," the NTV channel quotes Erdogan as saying. "We will not give up S-400 in favor of Patriots."
"It is important for us to have S-400 in our defense system. We will purchase S-400 and Patriots, because we develop our defense system in a diverse manner. This is the strategy of our armed forces," he said.
Erdogan has ruled out choosing between Russia and the US as Turkey’s foreign policy course. "There are politicians who ask me who is the enemy: the US or Russia. I do not want any enemies. I want to be friends both with America and with Russia. This is our goal, and we make the corresponding steps toward it. And some are concerned by it," the president concluded.
In November 2016, reports emerged that Russia and Turkey were negotiating an S-400 missile system supply deal. In September 2017, Moscow confirmed the deal had been signed, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey had already transferred the advance payment. The first missile systems were delivered to Turkey in July in spite of Washington’s fierce opposition.
On July 17, the White House press secretary announced in written statement that Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 missile systems renders its further participation in the US fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets impossible. Ankara was planning to purchase 100 jets and was producing some of the equipment and assembly parts for the aircraft.
Russia’s S-400 Triumph (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and can also be used against ground installations.