President Tayyip Erdogan said there was no problem with Turkey’s planned purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and talks have also been held on the S-500 system, Haberturk and other newspapers reported on Friday.
His Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted on Monday as saying NATO member Turkey could seek a deal to acquire a missile defence system with another country if Russia does not agree to joint production of the defence shield.
Speaking to reporters as he returned on his plane from a trip to Ukraine and Serbia, Erdogan said there would be no joint production in the first stage of S-400 purchases, but in the second stage “God willing we will take joint production steps”, Haberturk reported.
“In our talks with [Russia President Vladimir] Putin we are not thinking of stopping with the S-400s. We have had talks on the S-500s too,” he added, referring to a missile system currently under development.
Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s has been seen in some Western capitals as a snub to NATO, given tensions with Moscow over Ukraine and Syria, while the deal raised concern because the weapons cannot be integrated into the alliance’s defences.
However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said this week Turkey was not seeking to antagonise the U.S.-led alliance by purchasing the system and is in talks with France and Italy to buy similar weapons.