Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed the controversial delivery of a Russian missile defense system despite the threat of US sanctions and said the next step was the joint production of S-400 with Moscow.
The first batch of Russian S-400 equipment has been delivered to Turkey in recent days, even after the US repeatedly called for the deal to be canceled or a fine imposed.
"We started to get our S-400, some said they can not buy it … God wants The last part of it [delivery] will be in April 2020," Erdogan said Monday in Ankara in front of thousands when Turkey celebrated the third anniversary of a bloody coup attempt.
"Now the goal is a joint production with Russia, we will do that," he said.
sanctions are coming?
The US has threatened Turkey with sanctions and has already begun deleting them from the F-35 fighter jet program. Washington says the Russian missile system poses a threat to the F-35 and Turkey can not have both.
The Turkish leader said earlier that he does not believe that Washington will impose sanctions, as the two countries are "strategic allies".
It is unclear when and where the S-400 will be fully installed, but Turkey will be the first NATO member operating the Russian air defense system that can hit targets up to a distance of 400 km.
The ninth Russian plane with S-400 parts landed on Monday at the Murted military base in Ankara, said the Ministry of Defense.
Formerly known as Akinci Base, it was renamed the military following a July 1
Failed coup d'état
The anniversary is a difficult moment for Erdogan. He faces a weak economy, a worsening of relations with NATO and the US regarding the purchase of the S-400 and a humiliating loss for his party in the recent local elections in Istanbul.
Nearly 250 people were killed – without the coup leaders – and more than 2,000 wounded after a rogue military faction attempted to wrest power from the president. Thousands took to the streets in response to Erdogan's call to defeat the uprising.
Relations with the West worsened after Turkish officials accused the West of not providing sufficient support to Ankara.
Since then, Erdogan has become closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who expressed concerns in Europe and the US.
Al Jazeera and news agencies