Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey and Russia will jointly produce the S 500 missile defense system, after controversy sparked by Ankara’s acquisition of the S 400 missile defense system from Moscow.
Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S 400 missiles has strained relations between Turkey and the United States, members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Erdogan stressed on Saturday in Istanbul that his country “will not back down on the purchase of S400”, saying, “This is a deal concluded”.
“There will be a joint production of the S500, after the S400”, he told a young delegation who were asking him questions.
The United States from the other hand, strongly opposes Ankara’s acquisition of the S 400 system, and compares it to the Russian system and US F 35 fighter jets, which Turkey wants to buy 100 of them.
The United States fears that the technology used in the S 400 system could be used to collect technical data on NATO military aircraft to which Turkey belongs, which would also allow Russia to access those data.
If Turkey implements its deal with Moscow, it could be punished under a US law that would impose economic sanctions on any country that signs armaments contracts with Russian companies.
Erdogan pointed out that the technical studies carried out by Turkey show that there is no problem in the operational compatibility between the S 400 and F 35 aircraft, and stressed the Turkish President that Turkey will receive F 35 “sooner or later”.
Erdogan also reiterated that his country would receive the S 400 in July, “but this date may be extend”.