The installation of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in Turkey will begin in October 2019, state-owned Anadolu news agency on Thursday quoted Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar as saying.
Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems, which are not compatible with NATO defenses, has unnerved the United States and NATO member countries, which are already wary of Russia’s presence in the Middle East.
Akar told Anadolu that selected personnel would be sent to Russia to receive training and return to work in Turkey, according to Hurriyet. It was not clear where he was speaking.
The United States has warned Turkey that going through with the purchase of S-400s could result in Washington imposing sanctions and halting other existing procurements, but Ankara has pressed on with the deal.
Turkey has said that its Western allies, namely the United States, have failed to cooperate with it in its efforts to boost its defense capabilities, and that Ankara has had to look outside of the NATO to meet its needs.
While pursuing S-400 project, President Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey’s ties with NATO remain strong, and Ankara has sought to secure defense deals with other countries as well. [Reuters]