MOSCOW --- The Turkish leadership is at the final stage of making the decision on the choice of air defense systems for its military, with Russia’s advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system being one of the options, the country’s defense minister has said.
"Turkey urgently needs an air defense system. As far as the S-400 is concerned, we are at the stage of making the final decision. The final decision will be made by the president and the prime minister," ·Fikri Isik was quoted as saying by the Anadolu news agency Thursday.
In early March, Isik said that the sides have made some progress in talks on the S-400 purchase, but the sides "have not yet reached the moment" when a contract can be inked.
The minister said that if Turkey purchases the Russian-made missile systems, they would not be integrated into the NATO system.
First reports about the possible purchase of the S-400 systems by Ankara emerged in November 2016. Sergei Chemezov, the head of Russia’s state corporation Rostec, said in March that Turkey intended to get a Russian loan for the purchase of Russian-made weapons and equipment, including the S-400 systems.