Ankara announced that the technical aspects of the ongoing deal with Moscow over Russian-made S-400 defense systems have been completed and only financial issues remain to be finalized. Speaking to state broadcaster TRT yesterday, Defense Minister Fikri Işık said that both Russia and Turkey have completed the technical details of the contract. "On the Russian side and also on the Turkish side technical work has been completed. Now we are at the final stage. We are working on the financial management of the issues, which I believe will finalize in the coming days," Işık said. Both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously expressed their willingness to cooperate over the deal on the S-400 air defense systems.
Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin said last week that Moscow and Ankara agreed to the delivery of the S-400 mobile systems but the Kremlin had not approved a loan for the deal.
Kozhin had also said Russia saw "no obstacles" to providing missiles to a NATO member.
The S-400 system was introduced in 2007 and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying ground and air targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.
It can track and engage up to 300 targets simultaneously and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers (17 miles).
So far Russia has only sold the system to two other countries. Last year, both China and India signed an intergovernmental agreement to procure four regiments of the Russian-made S-400's, and delivery of the new air defense systems is expected to begin in 2020.
Turkey will be the first NATO member country to purchase the system if the country reaches an agreement with Russia for their procurement.
The defense minister also said that Turkey has launched its own air defense system projects, and that decision has been made to cooperate with France and Italy.
"We are now also discussing cooperation with the United States," the defense minister added.
Turkey has invested significantly in the defense industry recently in an effort to produce domestically made weapons to minimize dependency on other countries.