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11:24 AM, April 4, 2018
S-400 Missile Defence Systems Delivery to Turkey in July 2019
S-400 Triumf missile defence system (File photo)

Russia will deliver its S-400 missile defence system in July 2019, about a year ahead of the scheduled delivery period of 2020.

“The time of delivery cited on the agreement for the procurement of S-400s has been brought forward to July 2019,” İsmail Demir, the head of the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries (SSM) was quoted as saying by daily Hürriyet on April 4.

Demir’s statement comes after an agreement was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 3 after a meeting in the Turkish capital.

The US has been pressurizing Turkey to cancel the agreement for the procurement of the S-400 systems as they cannot be interoperable with existing NATO anti-ballistic defense architecture.

A group of US Senators earlier this year wrote to the State Department demanding sanctions against Russia and Turkey if they went ahead with the S-400 deal. The action was demanded as per the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a controversial legislation which President Trump signed into law recently.

Russia and Turkey reached a $2.5 billion agreement on the sale of S-400s in 2017, with the first batch expected to be shipped in late 2019.

NATO officials have claimed that the S-400 system is not compatible with the alliance's existing air defenses. Ankara, however, has countered this suggesting by pointing to Greece's complement of S-300s, which Athens bought in 1999.

Erdoğan, however, was defiant against pressures and reactions from the allied countries.

“We have made our agreement on the S-400s. We have closed this chapter. This job is done,” he said at the joint press conference with Putin.

There are concerns that Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made sophisticated air defense systems could trigger punitive measures, as stipulated in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a bill that was passed by the United States Congress in 2017.

“We have decided with President Erdoğan in our meeting to speed up the delivery of the S-400 systems,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said, referring to the purchase that has raised concerns among Turkey’s NATO partners.

“Our Turkish colleagues made a request in the meetings. We will accelerate the process. This is an issue of commerce. Companies are working on it,” Putin said.

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