ISTANBUL (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said there was no problem with Turkey’s planned purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and talks have also been held on the S-500 system, Haberturk and other newspapers reported on Friday.
His Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted on Monday as saying NATO member Turkey could seek a deal to acquire a missile defence system with another country if Russia does not agree to joint production of the defence shield.
Speaking to reporters as he returned on his plane from a trip to Ukraine and Serbia, Erdogan said there would be no joint production in the first stage of S-400 purchases, but in the second stage “God willing we will take joint production steps”, Haberturk reported.
“In our talks with (Russia President Vladimir) Putin we are not thinking of stopping with the S-400s. We have had talks on the S-500s too,” he added, referring to a missile system currently under development.
Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s has been seen in some Western capitals as a snub to NATO, given tensions with Moscow over Ukraine and Syria, while the deal raised concern because the weapons cannot be integrated into the alliance’s defences.
However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said this week Turkey was not seeking to antagonise the U.S.-led alliance by purchasing the system and is in talks with France and Italy to buy similar weapons.
Reporting by Orhan Coskun and Ceyda Caglayan; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans