A Turkish official has confirmed that the delivery of the Russian-made S-400 air defense systems is expected to begin this year, Russia’s news agency TASS reported Friday.
While delivering a speech at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Washington this week, Vice President of Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) Celal Sami Tufekci was quoted as saying by TASS that Turkey expects the delivery of S-400s to begin this year. “We tend to say 2019, this year,” Tufekci told TASS.
Tufekci added that the relevant decision has already been made at the supreme level.
During the speech in SETA, Tufekci said Turkey decided to buy Russian-made systems because it was not satisfied by the terms of Washington's proposal to buy US-made Patriot systems.
"What led Turkey to the acquisition of the S-400 was the policy put forward by the US. During the negotiations price was an issue, production location was an issue and technology transfer was an issue," he said.
According to the official, it took US too long to finalize details of its proposal, which was received by Turkey only last month.
In a Thursday report by Turkish News daily, Yeni Safak reported that the US will not supply Patriot missile systems to Ankara. Other local media sources reported that if Turkey goes ahead with S-400 buy, the US is likely to stop F-35 deliveries to Turkey.
The report also said that Ankara’s S-400 deal with Russia cost significantly less than the offer Washington put forward, coming at only a third of the price tag. The US had previously attempted to pressure Turkey by blocking the delivery of jointly-developed F-35 jets to Ankara, a precondition that was later dropped by Washington.