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Turkey’s purchase of S-400 systems has nothing to do with politics — foreign minister

The decision to procure from Russia was prompted by NATO’s refusal to sell similar armament, according to Turkey's top diplomat

MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. Turkey purchased S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia due to NATO’s refusal to sell similar armament, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at the Mediterranean Dialogues international conference in Rome broadcast by the Anadolu news agency on Friday.

"Turkey needs air-defense systems. Did we try to buy from our allies? Yes, for the last 10 years. But we couldn’t get them. So it is not a political reason," the Turkish foreign minister stressed.

Russia announced in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 billion deal with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ankara. Under the contract, Ankara will get a regiment set of S-400 air defense missile systems (two battalions). The deal also envisages partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side.

Turkey is the first NATO member state to purchase such air defense missile systems from Russia. The deliveries of S-400 air defense systems to Turkey began on July 12, 2019.

The United States and NATO have been making attempts to prevent Turkey from purchasing Russia's S-400 missile systems. Washington has warned on many occasions that it may impose sanctions on Turkey, if Ankara presses ahead with the S-400 deal. On July 17, the press secretary of the US White House said in a written statement that Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian-made S-400 air defense systems rendered Ankara’s further participation in the US program of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bomber impossible.

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 weapons, 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.