Turkey has already purchased S-400 defence systems from Russia and hopes they will be delivered in July, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, an announcement likely to ratchet up tensions with NATO ally Washington.
Turkey and the United States have sparred publicly for months over Ankara’s order for the S-400s, which are not compatible with NATO’s systems.
“Turkey has already bought S-400 defence systems. It is a done deal. I hope these systems will be delivered to our country next month,” Erdogan said.
U.S. acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan outlined last week how Turkey would be pulled out of the F-35 fighter jet programme unless Ankara changed course from its plans to purchase the S-400 missile defence system.
Turkey has criticised the letter from Washington and said it did not live up to the spirit of the NATO alliance. It is working on a response to be sent in the coming days, according to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar.
The United States says Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian system poses a threat to Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 stealth fighters, and has warned of potential U.S. sanctions if Ankara presses on with the deal.