ANKARA, March 3. /TASS/. Ankara considers buying the second regiment of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia, despite the US pressure, Head of Turkey’s Defense Industries Ismail Demir said on Wednesday.
"Our work on the second [regiment] of S-400 systems continues," he said in an interview with the Turkish NTV television channel.
Turkey is also working on reinforcing its armed forces by developing its own air defense systems, he said. "This year, the deliveries of Sungur and Hisar A+ systems will begin and the work on developing the domestic Siper air defense system continues."
The head of the Turkish defense industry said on January 11 that the S-400 air defense systems delivered to Turkey were ready for activation.
Сonsequences of US sanctions over S-400 purchase
Turkey has not noticed any consequences of US sanctions imposed over the purchase of Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, Demir stated.
"We have not noticed any direct effect [from the US sanctions]. We will see the fallout from applying the CAATSA [the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act] but at present there are no clear consequences and we will wait," he pointed out.
The head of the Turkish defense ministry called the US position on Ankara’s S-400 purchase incorrect. "If they think that this will dissuade us from any our national decision, then they are incorrect," he said.
On December 14, 2020, the United States announced imposing restrictions on Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries, its head and three other Turkish citizens under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act over the purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.
As then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time, the restrictions were a clear signal that "the United States will fully implement CAATSA" and "will not tolerate significant transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors."
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry denounced the US sanctions and vowed to take countermeasures. As the ministry stressed, Ankara "will not refrain from measures it will deem necessary to ensure its national security."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier stated that Washington’s intentions to impose sanctions on Ankara over the purchase of S-400 air defense systems were a manifestation of disrespect for a major NATO partner.
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 sharply negative reaction from the United States and NATO as a whole. The United States is not abandoning 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 has also been 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.
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.