Erdogan Announces Supply of Russian S-400 Missiles will Kick off Mid-July

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that the supply of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems acquired by Ankara will begin in the first half of July, TASS reported.

The Turkish leader told reporters on board the aircraft when returning from Dushanbe, where he participated in the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

“We discussed the S-400 theme with Russia, this is a completed case. There are no problems. I think that deliveries will begin in the first half of July,” Erdogan said, as cited by NTV television channel.

Erdogan reiterated that Ankara does not intend to abandon the contract for the S-400.

“We put our signature, we will finish what we started. Russia as part of the loan provided us with various exemptions and issued a loan with such percentages that do not exist on the international market,” the President added.

He also said that the Ministry of National Defense of Turkey is preparing a response to the letter. U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan spoke on Washington’s decision to suspend Turkey’s participation in the program to train Turkish pilots in the U.S. in piloting F-35 fighter bombers due to the acquisition of the C-400.

“Very soon, perhaps even this week, a corresponding letter will be sent to [the American side],” Erdogan said.

The first reports of the negotiations of the Russian Federation and Turkey on the supply of S-400 appeared in November 2016. The fact of the conclusion of the contract was confirmed by the Russian side on September 12, 2017. Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the deployment of the S-400 will begin in October 2019. Sergey Chemezov, General Director of Rostec, reported in December 2017 that the delivery cost of Ankara S-400 systems is $ 2.5 billion.

The U.S. is actively trying to prevent Turkey from buying the S-400. Earlier, Washington has already warned Ankara that in the event of the acquisition of these weapons systems, the United States may refuse Turkey to sell F-35 fighter-bombers.