Ankara concludes deal with Moscow over S-400 missile defense system

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan right shakes hands with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif left prior to their talks at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Turkey Tuesday Sept. 12 2017
Russia, Turkey Sign S-400 Deal despite Criticism and Suspicion
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14 September, 2017

Should we wait for you? "We are taking precautions and we will continue to do so", Erdoğan said on September 13 in a speech to ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayors in Ankara.

"I can merely guarantee that all of the decisions made under this contract strictly agree with our strategic interests", he told the TASS news agency. The Pentagon has already expressed its dissatisfaction with the arms deal.

Turkey said in April that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally nations had not presented a "financially effective" offer on alternative missile defense systems.

The purchase of the surface-to-air missile defence batteries, Ankara's most significant deal with a non-NATO supplier, comes with Turkey in the throes of a crisis in relations with several Western states. Ankara considers YPG as linked to the Kurdish PKK group.

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In parallel to the S-400, the Turkish companies Aselsan and Roketsan signed a "Heads of Agreement" with French-Italian consortium Eurosam to fulfill the Turkish Undersecretariat of Defence Industries (SSM)'s requirement for a homegrown long-range SAM system.

"We have relayed our concerns to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400", Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael told USA broadcaster CNBC in a statement on Tuesday.

Before gravitating towards Russian Federation, the Turkish military walked out of a $3.4 billion contract for a similar Chinese system.

Turkey's need for an air missile defense system once again became urgent with the start of the civil war in Syria, a country which has a sizeable ballistic missile stockpile able to strike a large portion of Turkey's territory, in addition to biological and chemical weapons. Defense observers speculated that Turkey played the China card to put pressure on its allies and get better terms for buying a NATO-compatible SAM system, such as the US-made Patriot PAC-3. As the dispute unfolded, the United States in 2015 withdrew its Patriot missiles from Turkey's border with Syria after a two-year deployment. Russian officials have said that its S-400 system has a range of 248 miles and can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously, aiming two missiles at each one.


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