Earlier on Saturday, Turkey received the second batch of Russian S-400 air defence system components as part of a loan deal signed in 2017.
Russia will deliver its S-400 missile systems not only to Turkey but to other countries of the region in the near future, chairman of the Russian State Duma’s foreign affairs committee Leonid Slutsky said in an interview with RT channel.
“Turkey is a forerunner of this cooperation. The region will certainly have S-400s and other more advanced defence systems from Russia. We will cooperate closely, and the scale of this cooperation is quite big. I am sure that we should intensify this cooperation by all means. There are very important countries that say they also need such defence systems, and their needs will be satisfied”, Mr Slutsky said.
Turkey has received two batches of S-400 missiles since Friday. Although the US administration has not issued an official statement on the matter so far, some US Congressmen have already condemned Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s systems and demanded sanctions.
Acting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper talked to his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, on the phone on Friday, but delayed a scheduled official statement indefinitely, although before the talk with Mr Akar he said that Washington’s position on Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 had not changed. During the conversation, Mr Akar said that buying the S-400 was of vital importance to Turkey because it remains under a serious air and missile threat.
The US and NATO have strongly criticised Turkey’s defence cooperation with Russia, claiming that the S-400 system was incompatible with NATO’s air defence systems. Turkey has denied this, saying that the system does not pose any threat to the alliance.
Washington has also threatened to exclude Turkey from its F-35 programme over its decision to buy Russia’s S-400 missile systems, saying that they could compromise US-made aircraft. The Pentagon warned in June that the delivery of 100 F-35 fighter jets which were purchased by Turkey could be suspended and training for Turkish pilots would be cancelled if Ankara buys the S-400s.