ANKARA, October 23. /TASS/. Turkey intends to continue testing S-400 air defense systems purchased from Russia and will ignore the US position on this issue, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters after the Friday prayer.
"The information on the tests [of S-400 systems] is true. The US approach does not concern us and we will not ask it about this. Greece has S-300 systems but does the US say anything on this issue? The trials of S-400s will be continued and we will confidently go our own way," Erdogan stressed.
On October 16, Turkey test-fired S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems near the town of Sinop in the country’s north on the Black Sea coast. Following the test-fire, the US State Department warned Ankara of potentially serious consequences, if Turkey activated the Russian-made surface-to-air missile systems.
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 received 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 launchers to Turkey began on July 12, 2019.
Turkey’s decision to acquire the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems has caused a backlash from the United States and NATO as a whole. The United States is not abandoning its attempts to make Turkey give up the Russian air defense systems.
As Turkey has not yielded to the pressure and has said that it will not give up the S-400 systems, Washington has excluded Ankara from the US program of developing the fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bomber.
The United States is also threatening Turkey with unilateral sanctions over the purchase of S-400 air defense systems but is in no hurry to take these steps out of fear of further worsening relations with a major NATO ally while Ankara has warned it will not leave the imposition of these restrictions unanswered.
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.