Turkey is interested in joint production of S-500 missile defense systems with Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday.
In an interview with broadcaster 24 TV, Erdoğan said he already made an offer on joint production to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Criticizing Turkey's NATO allies over their unwillingness to sell arms to Turkey or jointly produce them, Erdoğan said: "Russia [on the other hand] has given us a loan for the S-400 on very reasonable terms. In the second and third stages, we will proceed to joint production. Maybe we will co-produce S-500."
In December, Turkey officially signed a $2.5 billion agreement with Russia for the S-400s — Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system.
Aiming to address its growing defense needs, Turkey decided to purchase the S-400 missile defense system from Russia. Turkey will be the first NATO member country to acquire the system.
With the S-400s, Ankara aims to build Turkey's first long-range air and anti-missile defense system to guard against threats in the region.
Moreover, Turkey seeks to build its own missile defense systems as the deal also involves the transfer of technology and know-how. The S-400 system, which was introduced in 2007, is the new generation of Russian missile systems, and so far Russia has only sold them to China and India.
The first S-400 are expected to be delivered in early 2020.
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