Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said yesterday that a purchase agreement for the Russian S-400 missile defense system may be signed this week while ruling out claims that Russian troops will be deployed during the installation process.
"There are no problems with the S-400 deal. An agreement on credits was reached during President Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Turkey. But, the details will be discussed further," Çavuşoğlu said, speaking at a joint press conference with Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela.
The minister also confirmed that a deal may be signed within this week after all the details have been discussed by groups of experts. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced earlier this week that the purchase of the defense system will be finalized during his Russian counterpart's visit. Commenting on news reports suggesting Russian troops will be deployed in Turkey during the S-400's installation process, Çavuşoğlu said, "If needed, Russian engineers and technicians might be in Turkey during the process of setting up the system. This does not mean Russia will deploy troops here."
In an effort to deepen military cooperation, Turkey and Russia will reportedly sign a cooperation deal prior to setting up the S-400, the head of Russia's state-owned Rostec Defense Company, Sergey Chemezov has said.
The S-400 is Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles. The system can track and engage up to 300 targets at a time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers. With the purchase of the S-400, 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 missiles, which were introduced in 2007, are the new generation of Russian missile systems, and so far Russia has only sold them to China and India.
Last year, both China and India signed an intergovernmental agreement for the procurement of four regiments of Russian-made S-400s, and delivery of the new air defense systems is expected to begin in 2020.