Turkey will stay on course with a “done deal” to procure the S-400 systems from Russia, a top Turkish official stated in response to a German media report that Ankara was about to scrap the purchase, fearing US sanctions.
Potential US sanctions were too big a threat for Turkey to proceed with the S-400 deal, German tabloid Bild claimed on Friday. The publication quoted a “high-ranking diplomat from Ankara” who said that economic considerations were behind the alleged Turkish decision to stop the purchase.
Later, Fahrettin Altun, head of communications at the Turkish president’s office, took to Twitter to debunk the report.
“Dear Julian, your sources are mistaken,” Altun said in response to Bild editor Julian Roepcke, sharing a link to the article in question.
Take it from me: The S-400 procurement is a done deal.
The source quoted in the Bild piece said that “there won’t be an S-400 delivery in July, as the Turkish president has announced. “With the current crisis with the lira, this would be an economic downfall for Turkey.”
The Turkish military is set to take delivery of their first S-400s in July, with their crews starting training in Russia a month prior. In all, Turkey is expected to receive four S-400 batteries as part of the estimated $2.5-billion deal.
Ankara was subjected to enormous pressure from the US earlier this year with possible consequences revolving around the S-400 deal. Washington has already frozen the delivery of F-35 stealth jets to Ankara, saying that the planes will not be shipped unless the country foregoes the S-400s.
In addition to that, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Ankara could face penalties under the controversial Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Nevertheless, Turkish officials have consistently ruled out canceling the deal.