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."
'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?
ls/amp (Reuters, AFP)