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11:32 AM, March 12, 2019
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S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile defense systems

Turkey will begin deploying S-400 anti-aircraft missile defense systems procured from Russia in October this year, Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar said.

Turkey is acquiring S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia because of the urgent need to ensure the country's security. "The purchase of S-400 missiles is not a matter of preference, but an urgent requirement of national security. Turkey is obliged to protect 82 million of its citizens," Hulusi was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency last week.

“With the onset of the crisis in Syria, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands placed air defense systems in Turkey to protect Turkish territory, but later removed these systems from the country,” he said.

“Today only Spain and Italy make a contribution to the provision of air defense of Turkey. Ankara was once again convinced that it should have its missile defense systems. Turkey will continue to fulfill its obligations under NATO,” the minister added.

Earlier this month, the United States threatened to cancel Turkey’s participation in the F-35 fighter jet program and also impose sanctions on it if Ankara persists on its planned purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems.

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