Arrival of S-400s is in preparation process: Erdoğan
Preparations for the arrival of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems are proceeding on schedule, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 8, without elaborating on definite arrival date.
“Right now, the preparations for the arrival continue. It would be right if you do not push us on a precise date. The shipping is still proceeding. There are also certain dates [on which] we came to terms with [Russia],” Erdoğan said ahead of his visit to Bosnia Herzegovina, where he will attend the two-day South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry and the General Staff are in charge of planning the settlement, location and deployment of the S-400s, the president stated.
“[The Defense Ministry and the General Staff] are making the plans right now to present us,” he said.
Following the final planning of the authorities, all of the S-400s will be deployed to the determined location and will arrive in Turkey by plane, Erdoğan added.
“We hope for this to be beneficial to our country, our region and the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin on June 8 said that Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the delivery of S-400s by phone on July 6, conveying that the deal process is in its implementation phase.
When asked for details of the process, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he could not share that information.
“It is in the phase it needs to be. It is not possible for me to convey more detailed information,” Peskov said.
Tensions between the United States and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Ankara set to begin receiving the advanced surface-to-air missile system this month.
In response to the deal, the United States has already suspended deliveries of parts and services related to Turkey’s purchase of multi-million dollar F-35 fighter jets.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the United States with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase Russia’s system.
U.S. officials later asked Turkey to buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400 system, arguing that the Russian-made system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.
But Turkey has emphasized that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO operability and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Ankara said that it was Washington’s initial refusal to sell the Patriot missile system that led it to seek other offers, adding that Russia offered a better deal that included technology transfers.