MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to discuss the prospects for Russian-Turkish relations.
Speaking at the opening of a meeting of the Russia-Turkey Cooperation Council, Putin said that Russia and Turkey have other projects to supply weapons in progress, in addition to the S-400 air defense systems.
“There are also tasks before our countries to strengthen cooperation in the military technical area, first of all the completion of the contract for the supply of S-400 Triumph air defense systems, and other promising projects related to the provision of modern Russian military products to Turkey,” Putin said.
Ankara authorities previously said that Ankara would not give up plans to buy the S-400s, and that the first batch of such anti-aircraft systems should arrive in the country this year.
The US claims that the S-400 systems are incompatible with NATO standards, threatened sanctions for their purchase and have repeatedly said that they could delay or cancel the process of selling the new F-35s to Turkey.
US officials said on April 4 that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems is a major concern in the US and poses a threat to NATO unity. In addition, they urged Turkey to make a choice: to remain an important alliance partner or compromise its security by making “reckless” decisions and “undermining” NATO.
However, the purchase by Turkey of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems could not lead to the expulsion of Ankara from NATO, Turkish experts say.
Hasan Basri Yalcin, director of SETA’s strategic research program, pointed out that Turkey is a reliable security provider for NATO, but Ankara does not want to become a NATO satellite.
At the same time, Enes Bayrakli, director of SETA’s European Studies Program, pointed out that no one, neither in NATO nor in Turkey, is serious about speculation about a possible withdrawal of Ankara from the alliance over the purchase of the S-400s.