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Turkey says it bought S-400 from Russia for use, not storage

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Turkey has bought the S-400 missile defense system from Russia for use, not stockpiling, the head of Turkey’s defense industry department said on Saturday, days after talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump.

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Erdogan and Trump held talks in Washington on Wednesday to overcome growing differences between the two NATO members, including the threat of sanctions, in response to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 and Syria policy. Washington says the S-400 poses a threat to its Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters.

Washington has warned Ankara that it would face sanctions over the purchase of the S-400 and suspended Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program, which Ankara was a customer and manufacturer of. But it has yet to impose any sanctions on Turkey, which began taking over the Russian system in July.

Demir said in an interview with CNN Turk that it was not logical for a country to buy such systems to set them aside, but said Turkish and US officials would work to address the case.

“It’s not right to say about a system we bought out of necessity and paid a lot of money that we ‘won’t use it for them (the United States)’,” he said.

“We have alliances with Russia and the United States. We have to move forward and respect the agreements signed.”

A senior aide to Erdogan said on Friday that US and Turkish officials had begun working on a joint mechanism to assess the impact of the S-400 system on F-35s.

Demir said the move reflected a softening of the US position, adding that Turkey was ready to take measures that would take into account US concerns about the missile defense system after the talks.

“As a friend and ally, we are ready to take action if there are any risks we may have overlooked on this subject. We believe it is possible to find a point of agreement on the S-400 issue as long as the two sides remain open.”

He said a number of Turks were continuing their training on the S-400 system in Russia. But he noted that no Russian personnel had come to Turkey to operate the systems.

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