Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik has said that Ankara is in talks with Moscow regarding the purchase of S-400 air defense systems. He made the statement when asked about Turkey’s plans for building up its air defense potential.
"We are conducting talks with Russia over the S-400s. But we also go ahead with contacts with other countries on this issue. Russia’s stance is positive," he said.
Isik hopes that Turkey’s multilateral talks will encourage NATO to come up with a more serious initiative and his country will have a system meeting the alliance’s requirements.
"But this does not mean that we will ignore Russia’s proposals. We are pushing ahead with pro-active work [with Russia - TASS] in this direction. Our ultimate goal is to start producing these systems on our own," Isik said.
The Turkish authorities in 2013 considered bids submitted in a tender for providing air defense systems and made a decision to continue specific discussions with a Chinese manufacturer of long-range air defense systems. On the short list of applicants China placed first, the United States with its system Patriot second, and Italian-French concern Eurosam with the SAM/T system third. Russia’s Antey-2500 proposed by Rosoboronexport participated too, but was eventually rejected after appraisal.
The talks with China ended last November as the parties failed to eliminate a number of disagreements, including those over technology transfer and joint production. The authorities then made a decision to cancel the bidding contest altogether. The issue of purchasing air defense systems or launching their joint production began to be discussed at the government level again last spring.
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