Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says his country will take delivery of the first batch of advanced S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia by late next year.
“The first batteries will be delivered towards the end of 2019,” Cavusoglu told reporters in the Belgian capital city of Brussels, where he was attending the 29th formal meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states.
The top Turkish diplomat stressed that Ankara must acquire the sophisticated Russian-built air defense missile systems, irrespective of objections from the United States and some NATO member states.
“We can understand the technical part. For example, it is normal for them to ask whether the S-400 recognizes NATO, NATO systems or allies as an enemy. We are also sensitive to this issue.
“We have already laid down our conditions in this regard while making the purchase,” Cavusoglu pointed out.
Last month, a former high-ranking Turkish military official said his country’s decision to purchase S-400 missile systems from Russia was the result of a decline in relations between Ankara and Washington, and a response to US threats.