Erdogan says Turkey won't dispose of Russian S-400s for US’ Patriot
Ankara will not abandon the Russian S-400 air defence systems in order to buy American Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, Trend reports citing Sputnik.
The Turkish president echoed his November statement that Turkey is willing to purchase US-made Patriot air defence systems but will not agree to dispose of the Russian S-400 system it has already bought.
“We can’t refuse the S-400 to buy Patriot. This page is closed. But if the US offers us suitable conditions, we will buy their systems. Because we want to diversify our air defence systems," Erdogan said on the TRT television channel.
According to the Turkish president, French President Emmanuel Macron at the NATO summit in London expressed surprise that Turkey, as a member of NATO, bought the S-400. “I replied: ‘Do I need to ask you what to buy and from whom?’” Erdogan said.
Last month, Turkey started testing S-400 radars against American-made F-16 fighter jets. The S-400 systems have been supplied by Russia since mid-July and are expected to become fully operational by April 2020. The US believes that the S-400 is incompatible with NATO security standards and is pressuring Ankara into removing it from service. It suspended Turkey's participation in the F-35 programme in July and threatened to completely remove the country from the fifth-generation stealth fighter project.