Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that the Turkish military is checking the S-400 air defense systems and preparing them for deployment.
He stressed, however, that “the purchase and planned check-ups of the air defense systems do not mean that the country is alienating itself from NATO”.
Earlier this week, Akar confirmed that Turkey had conducted tests of the air defense systems in Sinop, noting that the drills were scheduled in accordance with the contract.
Moscow and Ankara signed a loan agreement for the delivery of the S-400 systems in December 2017, and last year several batteries worth $2.5 billion were sent to Turkey.
The deal prompted a major backlash from Washington, with the US claiming that the S-400 is incompatible with NATO security standards and could compromise the F-35 program.
The US even suspended Ankara from the project, warning its NATO ally that it may be completely excluded from it, but Turkey has refused to break its deal with Moscow and has reportedly vowed to activate the missile systems despite American sanctions.