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Turkey, Russia Get Closer, Discuss Joint Production of Defense Systems

DESPARDES News Monitor — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey and Russia would discuss the joint production of S-500 defense systems after the S-400 deliveries, local media reported Sunday.

“The S-400 deal is complete. The deliveries are to begin in July or maybe earlier. After that, we will talk about the S-500, including joint production,” Erdogan told an audience of young people in reply to a question at an event in Istanbul late Saturday.

“There is absolutely no question of stepping back on the S-400 issue. It is a done deal,” the Turkish president was quoted by Anadolu News Agency as saying.

“Sooner or later, we will receive the delivery of the F-35s, and S-400s will come to our country too,” he said.

Washington says the deal with Moscow is a threat to Western defense. In April, the US suspended the delivery of F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey in a bid to halt the purchase.

Turkish pilots are in the US receiving training on the F-35s, manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Ankara is expected to buy a total of 100 jets.

Erdogan said Turkey conducted technical studies amid US concerns over the compatibility of the S-400s and the F-35s but found there were no issues. He also insisted “sooner or later” Turkey would receive the F-35 jets.

Washington threatens to suspend the delivery of the F-35 fighter jets to Ankara despite its partnership in the consortium, and slap additional sanctions if Turkey continues ahead with the purchase of the S-400s.

Despite the threat of sanctions, Erdogan repeated that the S-400s were expected to be delivered in July.

“They [US] are passing the ball around in the midfield now, showing some reluctance. But sooner or later, we will receive the F-35s. [The US] not delivering them is not an option.” he said.

In December 2017, Moscow and Ankara signed a loan agreement for the delivery of S-400 systems. NATO and the United States expressed security concerns, saying that S-400s are incompatible with NATO’s air defense systems.