Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 July 2019

Turkey's Erdogan sees Russian S-400s delivery starting in July

The misile defence systems have been a growing source of discord between Turkey and the United States

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks during the fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 15 June 2019. EPA
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks during the fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 15 June 2019. EPA

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he expected Russian S-400 missile defence systems to start arriving in Turkey in the first half of July, broadcaster NTV reported on Sunday, a development set to fuel tensions with Nato ally the United States.

The S-400s are not compatible with Nato's systems and have been a growing source of discord between Turkey and the United States in recent months.

"We discussed the S-400 subject with Russia. Indeed the S-400 issue is settled," Mr Erdogan was cited as telling reporters on his plane returning from a visit to Tajikistan, where he attended a summit and met Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I think they will start to come in the first half of July," he added, giving a more specific forecast than he has in the past.

US acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan this month outlined how Turkey would be pulled out of the F-35 fighter jet programme unless Ankara changed course from its plans to buy the missile systems.

Mr Erdogan said he would discuss the issue with US President Donald Trump when they meet at this month's G-20 summit.

"When someone lower down says different things, then we immediately make contact with Mr Trump and try to solve issues with telephone diplomacy. Matters don't take long there," he said.

Updated: June 16, 2019 11:24 AM

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