Turkey, Russia finalize missile deal: Minister

Ankara finalized a 2.5 billion USD-worth agreement with Moscow to acquire Russian air missile defense systems.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Ankara finalized a 2.5 billion USD-worth agreement with Moscow to acquire Russian air missile defense systems, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli revealed on Wednesday.

“The deal is done. Two systems, and four batteries,” Canikli told Turkish state media about the Russian S-400 missiles, a move that has raised concerns among Turkey’s NATO allies.

The Turkish minister thus confirmed an earlier statement the same day by Sergey Chemezov, the chief executive officer of Russia’s state-owned hi-tech giant Rostec Corporation, that Ankara had purchased the missiles.

Canikli said his country was to pay an amount of the purchase with Russian loans during the Tunisian leg of an official trip to African countries along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He did not elaborate on how much Turkey would have to pay.

Chemezov, on the other hand, said Ankara agreed to pay a 45 percent advance according to remarks carried by Russian daily Kommersant.

Ankara’s procurement of Russian surface-to-air missiles comes amid its further alienation from the Western camp.

Erdogan openly accuses the US and European countries of supporting and harboring his domestic opponents, namely the Kurds and one-time ally Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement which he claims staged the failed mid-2016 coup against his rule.

“We have relayed our concerns to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400,” a US army official said in September.

“A NATO interoperable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in the region,” Pentagon spokesperson Johnny Michael told CNBC.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany