Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has noted that the United States cannot fulfil Ankara’s two basic conditions for acquiring Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, of providing credit and joint production.

“Joint production, providing a loan and early delivery are criteria that we attach importance to. Although they [the United States] are positive for early delivery, they can’t promise to provide credit and joint production”, Erdogan told reporters, as quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News media outlet.

The Turkish president also reaffirmed his country’s commitment to purchase Russian-made S-400 Triumph (NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler) air defence systems.

“We have made the S-400 deal with Russia. Therefore, a step back is out of the question. This is over… We are working for the deployment of S-400s in July as promised”, the Turkish president noted.

According to Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, the possible Patriot purchase will not affect the Ankara-Moscow agreement on the purchase of the S-400 systems.

Turkey, Russia, and Iran may conduct joint military operations against militants in the rebel-controlled Syrian province of Idlib, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on 16 February.

“Joint operations can be held at any time in line with the developments. There is no obstacle in front of these. Current measures are for the comfort, happiness and prosperity of the people in Idlib. What is essential for us is the security of the people of Idlib”, Erdogan told reporters, as quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News media outlet.

He added that Turkish and Russian forces would continue to work on the implementation of the 17 September Russian-Turkish memorandum on the situation in Idlib as well as to fight terrorism in the region.

On 14 February, the presidents of Russia, Turkey, and Iran held a fourth trilateral meeting on settlement of the Syrian conflict in the Russian resort city of Sochi. According to Erdogan, the meeting focused on the situation in Idlib.

Last September, Syrian ceasefire guarantors Russia and Turkey agreed to set up a demilitarised zone in the Idlib de-escalation zone, where a number of armed formations and terrorist groups are still active. 

The demilitarised zone was expected to have been established by 15 October 2018 but despite progress in the withdrawal of heavy weapons and militants from the area, the remaining groups regularly commit ceasefire violations, shelling nearby provinces.

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