Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday he expected Russian S-400 missile defense systems to start arriving in Turkey in the first half of July, Reuters reported, citing local broadcaster NTV.
“We discussed the S-400 subject with Russia. Indeed the S-400 issue is settled,” Erdogan was cited as telling reporters on his plane returning from a visit to Tajikistan, where he attended a summit and met Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I think they will start to come in the first half of July,” he added, giving a more specific forecast than he has in the past.
Turkey’s decision to purchase the Russian system has resulted in tensions with the United States.
Washington says the S-400 poses a threat to the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 stealthy fighters, which Turkey also plans to buy.
The US also believes the S-400 sale is part of Russian efforts to disrupt the alliance amid Western concern over Erdogan’s burgeoning relationship with Putin.
US officials said recently that the United States has decided to stop accepting any additional Turkish pilots who planned to come to the United States to train on F-35 fighter jets due to the S-400 purchase.
Erdogan later said that Turkey has already bought the Russian S-400 missile defense systems and that is a done deal.
On Sunday, the Turkish President said he would discuss the issue with US President Donald Trump when they meet at this month’s G-20 summit.
“When someone lower down says different things, then we immediately make contact with Mr. Trump and try to solve issues with telephone diplomacy. Matters don’t take long there,” he said, according to Reuters.
Turkish officials insist that the deal to purchase the S-400 does not affect the security of the US and have repeatedly stressed that they will go ahead with the deal despite Washington’s objections.Europe’s air forces risk falling behind as US and China bulk up