Erdogan: No Evidence of S-400 Threat to NATO or F-35 Aircraft
“There is no evidence that the S-400 will harm NATO or the F-35 aircraft. Earlier, many countries bought these systems, and it’s wrong to ask Turkey about its relations with the West. Buying the S-400 for Turkey is exclusively commercial step", said Erdogan. He recalled that Ankara had previously proposed that Washington form a commission to discuss US concerns about the supply of Russian air defense systems to the republic.
At the same time, the Turkish leader expects "from the allies in the person of the United States the right steps". "I hope that US President Donald Trump will act correctly and won't take our bilateral relations hostage to the S-400", Erdogan said.
The conclusion of a contract for the supply of Turkey with a regimental set of S-400 worth $ 2.5 billion became known in September 2017. Deliveries began in mid-July 2019. The US and NATO are actively opposing the acquisition of Russian air defense systems by Ankara. The United States stated that Turkey’s decision made it impossible for her to continue participating in the fifth-generation F-35 aircraft program, while NATO refused to include Turkish S-400s in the alliance’s integrated missile defense system.
In accordance with this agreement, Turkey will become the first NATO member country to receive these defense systems from Russia. The Turkish military will begin operating the S-400 and will receive a Russian loan to finance the purchase of this increasingly popular system in the world that can control more than 600 kilometers of airspace.