ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the first delivery under the contract with Russia on anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) S-400 will take place within 10 days. The Turkish leader indicated the deadline the day before, June 30, the day after he declared that the United States would not impose sanctions on the NATO ally on this arms deal.
“Within 10 days, maybe within one week, the first batch will be delivered. I told this (to US President Donald ) Trump openly,” Hurriyet newspaper quoted Erdogan as saying.
After meeting with the American leader in the margins of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan (June 28-29), Erdogan said that Trump assured him that “there will be no sanctions against the deal.”
After Erdogan’s statement, the Turkish lira strengthened by 1.5% in morning trading on July 1, to below 5.7 against the US dollar.
However, judging by the official comments of the White House, not everything is so clear in the relations between Ankara and Washington around the issue of the S-400 purchase by the Turkish side, as Erdogan presented after the meeting with Trump. According to the US administration, Trump “expressed concern” in connection with Ankara’s plans to acquire Russian long-range air defense systems and “urged Turkey to cooperate with the United States in the field of defense in such a way as to strengthen NATO.”
“In our telephone conversations or during face-to-face meetings, Mr. Trump has not yet say ‘We will impose these sanctions’, ” Erdogan told reporters.
Recall that the State Department and the Pentagon had earlier warned Turkey more than once about the possible consequences of the purchase of the S-400 air defense system. The US Congress launched an initiative to ban Turkey from acquiring F-35 fighter jets. The United States and its European NATO allies fear that radars on S-400 systems can detect and track F-35s, which will make them less hidden for Russian systems in the future. For a long time, the US has been persuading Turkey to abandon the purchase of Russian S-400’s, while not letting go of its leverage to intimidate a NATO ally with the possible introduction of sanctions against it.
Russia and Turkey signed a contract to supply Ankara with the S-400 Triumph SAM system in 2017. Turkey is set to acquire four S-400 divisions, the contract value is $ 2.5 billion. Delivery of the first S-400 batteries to the Turkish side is expected in July of this year, and in October they will take up combat duty.