S-400s will be deployed to Turkey in July 2019: Official
Russia will deliver the first batteries of the S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems in July 2019 after Turkey’s demand to bring forward the time of delivery, the head of the Turkish procurement agency has said upon a joint decision by the Turkish and Russian president to prioritize cooperation on augmenting Turkey’s air defense.
“The time of delivery cited on the agreement for the procurement of S-400s has been brought forward to July 2019,” İsmail Demir, the head of the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries (SSM) was quoted as saying by daily Hürriyet on April 4.
Demir’s statement followed an agreement voiced by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 3 after a lengthy meeting in the Turkish capital. Russia was planning to deliver these systems to Turkey in early 2020.
Turkey has long been under pressure from its main NATO allies, particularly the United States, to cancel the agreement for the procurement of the S-400s systems, as they cannot be interoperable with existing NATO anti-ballistic defense architecture. There were also concerns that Russian involvement in operating the S-400s will allow Moscow to have access to the allied codes and information about NATO facilities on Turkish soil.
Erdoğan, however, was defiant against pressures and reactions from the allied countries.
“We have made our agreement on the S-400s. We have closed this chapter. This job is done,” he said at the joint press conference with Putin.
There are concerns that Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made sophisticated air defense systems could trigger punitive measures, as stipulated in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a bill that was passed by the United States Congress in 2017.
“We have decided with President Erdoğan in our meeting to speed up the delivery of the S-400 systems,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said, referring to the purchase that has raised concerns among Turkey’s NATO partners.
“Our Turkish colleagues made a request in the meetings. We will accelerate the process,” the Russian president added.
“This is an issue of commerce. Companies are working on it,” Putin said.