Turkey Buys S-400 Air-Defense Systems From Russia Amid Controversy


Speaking to the Turkish press, President Erdoğan said that Turkey is "obliged to take safety and security measures" for its national defense, recalling that several weapons systems that Ankara sought to purchase were not made available in the west.

Earlier on Tuesday both Ankara and Moscow confirmed that the contract of supply to Turkey of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems has progressed after Turkey paid a first installment under the deal.

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"Meanwhile, spokesman of the German Foreign Ministry Martin Schaefer stressed that Berlin does not consider the matter to be of much concern". "We are taking precautions and we will continue to do so", Erdoğan said on September 13 in a speech to ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayors in Ankara. "So what? Are we going to wait for you?"

Shortly after Erdogan's announcement, western countries expressed concerns over the deal as it can not be integrated into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation system.

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In parallel to the S-400, the Turkish companies Aselsan and Roketsan signed a "Heads of Agreement" with French-Italian consortium Eurosam to fulfill the Turkish Undersecretariat of Defence Industries (SSM)'s requirement for a homegrown long-range SAM system.

"Turkey is a key NATO Ally, and we are committed to our strong defense partnership", Defense Department spokesperson Johnny Michael said in an email.

Hurriyet newspaper quoted Erdogan on Tuesday as telling a group of reporters that signatures have been put on accords and that Turkey has made a down payment on the surface-to-air defense systems.

The S-400 system is an advanced Russian missile system created to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away.

It can track and engage up to 300 targets at the same time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers (17 miles).