Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced that S-400 air defense systems purchased from Russia will be put into operation regardless of whether Ankara is included in the NATO defense system or not.
“The S-400s will not be integrated into the overall NATO command management infrastructure. In any case, they will be launched,” the Turkish minister said in an interview with the state-owned TRT.
He insisted that the acquisition of Russian air defense systems does not mean Turkey’s separation from NATO. According to Akar, Ankara is still ready to consider buying American Patriot air defense systems if Washington offers Ankara a convenient option.
Recall that the contract for the supply of S-400s was signed between Turkey and Russia in 2017. The first batch was delivered to Turkey in 2019, in July. The Russian-Turkish deal has caused a serious crisis in Turkish-American relations.