ERDOGAN DEFYING NATO: Russia and Turkey discuss joint production of S-500

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ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara and Moscow could begin talks on the joint production of Russian S-500 air defense systems after Russia delivers the S-400.

Turkey has reiterated in recent months interest in the joint production of the S-400 system. In April, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not rule out that some components could be produced together.

“The S-400 contract is now underway, and deliveries are expected to start in July or maybe even sooner. Russia has offered us very good conditions, after which we will talk about the S-500, including joint production [of those systems], just like the S-400s,” Erdogan said on a meeting broadcast on NTV channel.

Erdogan added that the United States has already delivered five F-35 fighters to Turkey. The president expressed confidence that Washington would fulfill all of its obligations to Ankara in connection with the F-35 program.

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In December 2017, Moscow and Ankara signed a loan agreement for the delivery of S-400 systems. Since then, Turkish cooperation with Russia for S-400 deliveries has been criticized by NATO and the United States for security concerns and incompatibility of S-400 air defense systems with NATO.

In December 2017, Moscow and Ankara signed a loan agreement for the delivery of S-400 systems. The first delivery of S-400 to Turkey is expected for July.

Washington has threatened Ankara with sanctions for its planned acquisition of the S-400 and has repeatedly said it may delay or cancel the sale of the F-35 aircraft to Turkey. Turkey is one of the participants in the US international F-35 program. Ankara, meanwhile, said the purchase of military equipment was his sovereign subject and ruled out the possibility of abandoning his plans.

Ankara, for its part, said the purchase of defensive weapons is a sovereign matter, ruling out the possibility of abandoning its plans.

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