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Top diplomat says Turkey will use S-400 systems only to protect its territory

Turkey will become the first NATO member state that will receive S-400s from Russia

MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/ Turkey will not use the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems in Syria or other countries, but only to protect its territory, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday in his speech at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s MGIMO university.

"We cannot use it [the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system] during Operation Olive Branch or similar operations, because we can use it only to protect our territories," he said.

"The S-400 will be used only to protect our civilian population on the territory of our country," Cavusoglu stressed,

In November 2016, the negotiations between Russia and Turkey on the purchase of S-400s became known. The Russian side confirmed the signing of the contract on September 12, 2017; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reported at the same time that advance payment had been made for the contract. Turkey will become the first NATO member state that will receive S-400s from Russia, but the number of the systems to be supplied was not specified.

On Monday, Russian Presidential Aide for Military-Technical Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin reported that the contract for delivery of S-400 systems to Turkey would be launched in early 2020.

On January 20, the Turkish General Staff declared the start of Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (part of the Syrian Democratic Forces armed coalition) and the Democratic Union Party in Syria’s Afrin inhabited by about 1.5 mln Kurds and refugees from other Syrian regions. Ankara recognizes these organizations as terrorist ones.