Speaking to reporters on board his plane as he returned from a visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday, Erdogan said defense cooperation with Russia is expanding, with the procurement of S-400 missile systems expected to go smoothly.
“In my last telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, we discussed this topic. When I travel to Russia, we will discuss it again,” Erdogan added.
Earlier this week, Alexander Mikheev, director general of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned arms exporter company, said a new contract with Turkey on S-400s was expected to be signed shortly. “We expect that the second contract on S-400 for Turkey will be signed this year,” he said.
READ MORE: Turkey tells US purchase of Russian S-400 defense system is a ‘done deal’
The first contract between Turkey and Russia on the air-defense systems was signed back in late 2017. The $2.5 billion deal envisioned delivery of four full S-400 batteries, including launchers, command and logistics vehicles, as well as missiles for the system. The deliveries of the systems began in 2019 and have been completed.
Ankara’s move prompted a furious reaction in the US, with Washington repeatedly attempting to pressure Turkey into abandoning the deal, claiming S-400s were incompatible with and even potentially dangerous for NATO systems.
Turkey, however, has not bowed to the pressure, with the S-400 issue leaving a major dent on the country’s relations with the US. The deal ultimately prompted Washington to kick Ankara out of the F-35 fifth-generation fighter program, canceling sales of the aircraft.
Washington also targeted Turkey’s defense sector with sanctions last December and has threatened further penalties if Ankara was to purchase more arms systems from Moscow.
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