Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is prepared to buy more units of a Russian-made air missile defense system, even though Ankara’s initial purchase of the S-400 sparked sharp divisions within NATO and sanctions from the U.S. government.
U.S. and NATO military experts warn that Turkey‘s use of the S-400 could give Russian weapons experts an inside look at NATO capabilities and strategies. Mr. Erdogan has said Turkey is buying the Russian defense system in part because the U.S. has refused to sell a comparable system to Turkey.
In an interview with Russian broadcaster NTV, Mr. Erdogan said he would have “no hesitations” about signing a contract for a second order for the S-400 system in the near future if Turkey‘s security required it.
Alexander Mikheyev, the chief executive officer of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, told a Russian military forum this month that an expanded deal could be in place by the end of the year.
Washington has largely frozen Turkey out from the production cycle for the advanced F-35 strike fighter jet as a punishment for the original S-400 purchase, but that has failed to dissuade Mr. Erdogan. Russian military analysts quoted by the news website Vedomosti suggested the Turkish president was floating the idea of more purchases of Russian arms as a pressure tactic on the Biden administration.