President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not ruled out that the delivery of Russian-made S-400 missile systems to Turkey may start ahead of schedule.
“We tell them [journalists] ‘this is a job completed, all is ready’. The delivery of the S-400 missile defence systems was supposed to be in July, it may be done earlier”, Erdogan was cited by the Turkish media outlet Daily Sabah as saying on Tuesday.
The statement comes after Erdogan’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday, during which the Turkish leader reiterated his position that the S-400 issue was “closed”.
Earlier, he pointed out that the US had failed to provide an agreement on its Patriot air defense systems comparable to the S-400 deal, adding that “the S-400 deal is coming to life and we await S-400 supplies in July”.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, for his part, stressed that it’s absurd to question Turkey’s NATO membership over Ankara’s S-400 deal with Russia. He added that he earlier told US officials that the S-400 deal is complete.
Cavusoglu also pointed out that “if the United States does not want to sell us the Patriot [interceptors], then tomorrow we can purchase the second S-400 battery, and we can also buy other missile defense systems”.