ANKARA, October 25. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again reiterated that Turkey will not refuse from Russian S400 missile systems, despite the Unites States’ position.
"The United States does not understand whom it is dealing with. Your said to send the S-400s back to Russia. But we are not a tribal state, we are Turkey," he said.
He said that the United States was free to use any sanctions it liked. "Whatever the sanctions might be, don’t delay imposing them," he stressed.
He also recalled that Turkey "has paid money for [US fifth generation] F-35 fighter jects but the United States have delivered none."
On Friday, the Turkish president confirmed that test launches from the S400 systems had been conducted during drills on October 16. He said Turkey planned to continue tests launches, despite the United States’ position.
Even before Erdogan’s statement, the US Department of State said that Turkey’s actions were running counter to its liabilities within NATO. The Turkish defense ministry denied the US side’s accusations.
Russia said in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 bln contract for supplies of its S-400 missile systems with Turkey. The first batch under the contract was delivered to Ankara by air transport in July 2019. 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. Turkey’s decision to acquire the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems has caused a sharply negative reaction from the United States and NATO as a whole, with the United States never stopping to press Turkey to give up its plans to by the Russian missile systems. As Turkey has not yielded to the pressure, 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 such restrictions unanswered.
Russia’s S-400 ‘Triumf’ (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-and medium-range surface-to-air 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. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of up to 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km under intensive enemy fire and jamming.