ISTANBUL, Turkish President Recep Teyyip Erdogan said Sunday Ankara did not buy the Russian S-400 missile system to wage a war but to protect safety of the country and its national security.
Turkey will receive the full S-400 hardware by April 2020, Erdogan said during a meeting with editors in chief of Turkish news organizations in Istanbul.
The Turkish army, he added, would be in full control of the missile system.
The purchase of the Russian S-400 is one of the most important agreements in Turkey’s history, said Erdogan, which also included the joint production between Ankara and Moscow.
The missile system is an upgrade from the S-300 defense system which was developed in the 1990s.
The US is strongly opposed to Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian missile system, saying it was not compatible with military systems of NATO, in which Turkey is a member.
The US worried Russian operators who would train Turkish forces on the missile system would have access to technology of its F-35 fighter jet which Ankara sought to buy.
In June, Washington gave Turkey an ultimatum expiring on June 31st to choose between the Russian hardware and the US fighter jets.
US President Donald Trump met Erdogan in June and said Washington did not intend to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the S-400, but did not rule out penalties.
Erdogan said Turkey was not afraid from sanctions.
Source: Kuwait News Agency