Turkey may be considering placing the S-400 air defence systems in Qatar or Azerbaijan as a way out of its impasse with Washington.
“The authorities are still examining options about where the S-400s will be placed, with discussions previously held about deploying them in Qatar or Azerbaijan to avoid exacerbating Turkish-US tensions over the purchase,” spokesman for the Turkish president was quoted as saying by Sputnik on Friday.
However, earlier this week, sources revealed that the NATO member state was likely to deploy the first of the two Russian-made S-400 batteries in Ankara while another of those batteries would be installed at a “strategically important location” in the eastern and south-eastern region of Turkey.
“Authorities had originally discussed placing the air defence systems around the Turkish capital,” the spokesman said.
The first batch of the Russian S-400 systems will be loaded onto two cargo planes at a military base on Sunday to be delivered to Turkey next week, reports Haberturk TV.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said that Ankara was being treated “unfairly” with respect to the S-400 deal. He has accused former US president Barack Obama for not approving Patriot missile systems that Turkey had earlier requested for.
Trump responded to the comment, saying, "You have to treat people fairly…and I don't think he was treated fairly."
Erdogan also reportedly accused the US of engaging in "robbery," recalling that Washington and Ankara had signed an agreement on the sale of 116 F-35s to Turkey and now the delivery of the fighters has been put on hold.
Russia and Turkey penned a $2.5 billion agreement on the sale of four battalion sets of S-400s to Turkey in late 2018. A year later, the US cleared a $3.5 billion Patriot missile deal for the country, but Ankara has yet to accept it, saying its terms aren't as good as those provided by Russia for the S-400s, which include a loan agreement, the report said.