Russia’s Vice Prime Minister Yuriy Borisov stated that Turkey would be granted the right of the option after the main part of the deal of the S-400 missile defence system purchase has been completed. Noting that various countries seek to buy the Russian S-400 missile defence system, Borisov said: “Above all, Turkey has the right of option.”
Moscow and Ankara had signed a contract in December 2017 regarding the shipment of Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems to Turkey for over $2 billion. Turkish Minister of National Defence Hulusi Akar had announced that the shipment would be done in October 2019, but the exact number of the systems has not been publicised yet.
Since the inking of the contract, NATO countries, especially the US, have expressed their “serious concerns” about the deal multiple times. Turkey’s deal with Russia while also having ongoing negotiations with the US on F-35 warplanes had raised some eyebrows in the US Congress, and US Defence Secretary James Mattis had said in a congressional hearing that they were “seriously concerned” about Turkey’s S-400 purchase.
Adding all this to the sanctions against Russia for the incidents in Ukraine, finance institutions had rejected to allow Turkey to get a loan for the purchase of the S-400 systems, which resulted in Turkey’s demand of financing from Russia. Though not taking kindly to the idea at first, Russian Vice President for military and technical cooperation, Vladimir Kojin, announced that Turkey was given a loan for part of the $2-billion contract.
Turkey’s former Minister of National Defence, Nurettin Canikli, had previously stated that Turkey would purchase two S-400 defence systems from Russia, the first of which would be shipped in October 2019, and the latter would be optional. US sanctions or troubles in financing could have led Turkey to request the right of option in the deal.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, on the other hand, answered the questions of opposing parties’ deputies on the S-400 systems purchase at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) on November 2.
Akar stated that Turkey presented the countries with conditions when requesting the purchase of military equipment. Akar explained the conditions as:
We will have the equipment.
You will give training.
We will have the spare parts.
We will produce information on it together.
We will manufacture it together. We will modernise it and be a party.
Hulusi Akar said that the US has not replied to the request on Patriot missiles yet, and that no country other than Russia has agreed to the conditions mentioned. To the question of Garo Paylan, a deputy of the parliamentary opposition HDP party, regarding whether Russia really agreed to those conditions since they were not on the contract, Akar said that Paylan was wrong and they were actually included in the agreement.
Describing the negotiations on F-35’s with the US as a “partnership”, Akar said that Turkey would have 116 warplanes and has sent pilots and technical staff to the US for training within the scope of this partnership, indicating that the S-400 purchase has not affected the deal with the US on F-35’s.