ANKARA, December 13. /TASS/. Ankara and Moscow plan to sign an agreement to jointly produce missiles, head of Turkey's Defense Industry Directorate Ismail Demir said on Friday, Bloomberg reported.
"We will sign a deal after agreeing over final details regarding joint production or production of some parts in Turkey, and technology sharing," Demir stated, as cited by the media outlet.
"The work to make the first [S-400] system ready for activation by April is under way," the Turkish official added. He noted that "Russia has made a proposal to sell a certain number of its Su-35 warplanes at a certain price."
Purchase of more S-400 systems
The chief of Turkey’s top defense procurement body informed that Ankara and Moscow had come close to concluding a contract on the supply of another batch of air defense systems S-400.
The talks form part of Turkey’s deal to purchase a second S-400 missile-defense system from Russia and have reached a "quite ripe" stage, Demir said on Friday in Ankara. "The signing of a deal is just around the corner," Bloomberg quotes him as saying.
Demir dismissed concerns that US sanctions could block the supply of spare parts for its American weapons systems, including F-16, as well as CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopter, and the UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter.
In September 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ankara had signed a contract with Moscow on purchasing the S-400 missile systems. Russia’s Rostec State Corporation CEO Sergei Chemezov reported in December 2017 that the deal was worth $2.5 bln. The first stage of the delivery process took place in July 2019.
The United States and NATO actively oppose Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems. On July 17, the White House press secretary said in a statement that "Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible." "The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities," the statement specified.
On Wednesday, December 11, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsed a package of sanctions against Turkey and its financial sector over Ankara’s military operation in northeastern Syria and the purchase of S-400 from Russia. The bill is now to go before the Senate, where some amendments may be made. The US Congress House of Representatives voted for a similar bill late last October.
The initiative obliges President Donald Trump to impose restrictions on officials involved in the military operation in Syria, including Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. Also, under the bill, the US administration is obliged to introduce restrictions against Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act over the purchase of S-400 systems.