Turkish officials confirmed Wednesday that talks between Turkey and Russia on the sale of S-400 missile defense systems have been positive, also noting that negotiations on the details of the deal are ongoing.
The sale of the missile system was also discussed during a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow during Erdoğan’s visit to Russia March 10.
Turkey’s long-held desire to purchase a long-range air missile defense system has been on the international agenda since 2013, when Turkey’s military procurement agency the undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM), chose the China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation (CPMIEC) FD-2000 (HQ-9) long-range missile defense system in September 2013.
Even though the Chinese company offered the best deal compared to its competitors in terms of pricing and technology transfer, Turkey canceled the tender due to heavy pressure from NATO in November 2015.
However, Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Feb. 22 that he does not expect Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian systems to cause controversy with NATO, noting: ”In this field we have three criterion, which are price, technology transfer and time of delivery. As a sovereign state, we can cooperate with any country that fulfills these requirements.”
He added that there are several NATO countries that already use non-NATO systems.
As a NATO-member, Greece deployed Russian S-300 batteries from its southern island of Crete in 2007. The deal would be the largest of its kind ever between Turkey and Russia.