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Turkey to produce missile system with Russia

May 19, 2019

The Turkish president has described plans to help Russia build its next generation missile defense system. The move is likely to further strain Turkey's relations with the United States.

S-400 air defense systems deployed in Feodosia
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Malgavko

Russia and Turkey will jointly produce the next generation S-500 aerial missile defense system, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

The United States, a military ally in the NATO alliance, has threatened sanctions against any country that purchases Russian defense systems. Turkish-US relations became strained after Turkey pushed forward with the purchase of Russia's S-400 missile defense system.

"There is absolutely no question of (Turkey) taking a step back from the S-400s purchase. That is a done deal," Erdogan said. "There will be joint production of the S-500 after the S-400."

Read more: Russia encroaches on US war industry in Middle East

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan embraces his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin
Erdogan has vowed to go forward with the purchase of Russia's S-400 missile defense systemImage: picture-alliance/AA/R. Aydogan

'Sooner or later'

Earlier this year, US officials told Turkey to scrap its deal to acquire the S-400, saying it would not be compatible with its current arsenal of American military hardware.

Washington also voiced concerns that the S-400 would compromise its F-35 fighter jets, saying Turkey's plan to buy into the Russian-built system is "deeply problematic."

Last month, the US halted deliveries of F-35-related equipment over Turkey's refusal to back down from the S-400 deal with Russia.

The US is "passing the ball around in the midfield now, showing some reluctance," Erdogan said on Saturday. "But sooner or later, we will receive the F-35s. [The US] not delivering them is not an option."

Read more: Is Russia challenging US military dominance?

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ls/amp (Reuters, AFP)