Despite the conflict in Ukraine, NATO member Turkey said it was still in talks with Russia about purchasing a second batch of one of Russia’s most modern missile defence systems.
The head of Turkey’s military procurement agency’s statements on national television late Tuesday emphasise Ankara’s efforts to maintain good relations with Moscow during the conflict.
In the final stages of US President Donald Trump’s presidency, the agency and its leader, Ismail Demir, were sanctioned by Washington for purchasing Russia’s S-400 missile defence system in 2017.
The first batch of surface-to-air missiles was delivered to Turkey in 2019.
Demir, on the other hand, informed state media that the 2017 contract called for Turkey to receive two batteries of the Russian missile.
“This was always intended to be a single project. We’re not talking about starting a new initiative here “Demir stated. “We’re sticking to the same strategy we’ve had since the beginning.”
Turkey’s prominent role in attempting to mediate a peaceful resolution to the dispute through direct talks has helped to improve its relations with the United States in recent months.
The administration of US President Joe Biden stated earlier this month that equipping Turkey with F-16 fighter jets, as proposed by Erdogan last year, would now serve Washington’s strategic interests.
After being thrown out of the F-35 fighter jet programme due to its purchase of Russian weaponry, Turkey is trying to modernise its air force.
Turkey did not take receipt of the second batch of Russian S-400s right away, according to Demir, due to contractual issues.
“We could have gotten the second batch straight quickly,” he explained, “but one of the main elements of the project was particular technological cooperation and joint production parameters.”
“Because these issues took time to negotiate, the system’s (delivery) was spread out over time.”