Turkish Authorities Deny Erdogan Scrapped S-400 Deal with Russia

Turkish President Reccep Tayip Erdogan’s Communications Director has denied a recent report in the German newspaper Bild claiming that Turkey decided not to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

“Take it from me: the S-400 procurement is a done deal,” FahrettinAltun said, according to Daily Sabah.

Bild’s foreign policy editor Julian Ropcke on Friday tweeted: “Diplomatic sources tell @BILD, Erdogan will not buy the S-400 from Russia.” The German journalist added a link to Bild’s report titled “Erdogan makes a surprising missile back-out.”

Responding to Ropcke, Altun told him that their sources “are mistaken.”

Bild’s report comes amid mounting U.S. pressure on Turkey to withdraw from the S-400 deal with Russia worth $2.5 billion. Following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the S-400.

Turkish officials refuse to back down from the planned purchase of the Russian systems, which the U.S. insists would create a risk that could harm NATO allies, although the military bloc previously indicated that the acquisition is Turkey’s sovereign decision and does not contradict Ankara’s membership in NATO.

In 2017, the chief executive of S-400 manufacturer Rostec said the missile system deliveries would start in 2020. Russia’s state weapons exporter Rosoboronexport also said it would switch to using local currencies in deals with foreign trade partners instead of using the U.S. dollar.