“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,” Erdogan said, speaking to reporters as he returned from a trip to Ukraine and Serbia, as cited by Habertürk newspaper and Reuters.
According to the Turkish president, there won’t be any joint production in the first stage of S-400 purchases.
“…but in the second stage, God willing, we will take joint production steps,” Erdogan said.
Earlier in October, Russia confirmed that it received an advance from Turkey for the state-of-the-art S-400.
“Yes, we have received it [the down payment]. We can’t name the dates of supply yet. They want it earlier [than 2019], but the issue is still under discussion,” Russian presidential aide for military-technical cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said at the time.
The much-discussed Turkey-Russia deal may signal closer ties between both countries, as well as a growing rift between Turkey and its NATO allies.
In July, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said that S-400 anti-aircraft systems are “not going to be interoperable with NATO systems.”
The US relayed its “concerns” to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400, Pentagon spokeswoman Michelle Baldanza told RT earlier in October.
“A NATO interoperable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in its region,” Baldanza said. “We have an open dialogue on this issue, and have emphasized the importance of maintaining NATO interoperability on any major defense systems procurements.”
Erdogan lashed out at the critics, saying Turkey doesn’t want to wait for the protection of its NATO allies.
“What do you expect? Should we wait for you?” he said.