Turkey purchased S-400 missile defence systems from Russia to make use of them, not just store them away, the head of the Turkish Defence Industry Directorate, Ismail Demir, told CNN Turk on Saturday, a few days after talks between President Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump.
Demir pointed out it would not make sense for any country to purchase such systems only to store them, but added that Turkish and US officials would attempt to tackle the issue.
He also noted that no Russian personnel is supposed to come to Turkey to operate the S-400s.
On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump talked about the mounting differences between the NATO allies, ranging from sanctions threats over Turkey’s purchase of S-400s to Syria, while agreeing to work jointly to address the issues.
Washington and Ankara have been at odds over the latter’s purchase of the Russian-made missile defence systems, with the White House threatening sanctions over the contract.
The US has claimed the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 jets, which until recently the two countries assembled jointly, and has suspended Turkey’s involvement in the programme.
The delivery of the F-35 stealth combat jets to Turkey was blocked by the US when Russia completed the first shipment of S-400 components in late July 2019. The second round of the deliveries was finalised in late September, ahead of schedule.