Turkish leader says deposit made on Russian defense system

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Turkey had already finalized and signed onto a purchase of Almaz-Antey S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems from Russian Federation. It is believed that a measure of transfer-of-technology will be involved, though to what extent is not known, though Bloomberg reported that two of the S-400 systems would be "produced" in Turkey.

"A deposit has also been paid as far as I know", Erdogan told reporters upon his arrival from Kazakhstan on Sunday, Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper reported.

"They went insane just because we made the S-400 deal", Erdogan told a meeting of city mayors from his ruling party in Ankara. "Wait for you? We are taking our security measures and will continue to do so", Erdogan said during a meeting with mayors from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara.

In March, then Defense Minister Fikri Isik said Turkey had looked to buy a missile system from one of its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners but could not reach agreement on sharing technology or a price.

The air-defense system has a range of 250 miles, and can hit up to 80 targets at once. Turkey commands the second largest standing military inside of 29-member-state-NATO.

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His explanations, however, did not stop the outpouring of criticism from the U.S. and other members of the military alliance.

The procurement comes at a tense time in relations between Turkey and the West.

Some media reports have said the deal could be worth up to $US2.5 billion.

"We have relayed our concerns to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400", Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael told CNBC in a written statement on September 12. He was referencing the USA decision to arm the Kurdish YPG for the fight against ISIS in Syria, despite fierce protest by Turkey.

Erdogan stressed that Turkey was free to make military acquisitions based on its defense needs.

  • Sonia Alvarado