Turkey bought s-400s from Russia to use them, not to put them aside

S-400 missile defence systems Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Ankara, Turkey Nov 16, 2019, 04.45 PM (IST)

Turkey purchased S-400 missile defence systems to use them, not put them aside, chief of the Turkish Defence Industry Directorate said on Saturday.

Ismail Demir in an interview with CNN Turk that it was illogical for any country to purchase such systems only to put them aside. He added that the US and Turkey will hold talks to resolve the issue.

"We have allied relations with Russia and the United States. We have to go on and respect the agreements we signed," he said.

The United States has already suspended Turkey from the F-35 programme over the purchase of s-400s and warned that it will impose sanctions if the deal is not scrapped. Turkey began receiving the s-400 systems from July. Washington said that it will not impose sanctions if Turkey doesn't operate the system. 
  
On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump met in Washington to settle differences which include Syria policy and s-400 purchase. Trump asked Erdogan to drop the deal with Russia but Erdogan later said that the country will purchase US patriot defences in addition to Russia's defence systems. 

Erdogan's spokesperson Ibrahim Kalim said on Friday that both countries are working on a "joint mechanism" to ease off tensions over the F-35 programme and S-400 systems.

US has already removed Turkey from the F-35 jet programme under CAATSA that mandates sanctions for any "significant" purchase of weapons from Russia. 

"We still believe we can find a middle ground on the S-400 issue, so long as both sides are open," Demir said. 

Demir also said that the Turkish personnel will continue to receive training from Russia for s-400s but officials from Russia will not visit Turkey anymore to operate the missile systems. 

Russia and Turkey have settled their differences in Syria and working closely to find a solution. Erdogan's spokesperson also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin planned to visit Turkey in the first week of January next year. 

(with inputs from agencies)

Story highlights

The United States has already suspended Turkey from the F-35 programme over the purchase of s-400s and warned that it will impose sanctions if the deal is not scrapped.