Turkey has proposed Russia the joint production of S-500 anti-ballistic missile systems, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has revealed, reiterating his government’s determination in deploying the S-400 missile systems on Turkish soil, despite opposition from the United States.
“Besides [the S-400s], I have made a proposal to Russia for the joint production of the S-500s,” Erdogan said in a televised interview late June 13.
The S-500s are still under development and believed to be deployed by 2020 as a supplement but with a longer range to the existing S-400s sophisticated surface-to-air missiles. Turkey will procure the S-400s to augment its air defense by July 2019.
In reaction to some countries’ opposition to the Turkish purchasing of S-400s, Erdogan recalled that Greece has an earlier version of Russian air defense systems, the S-300s, on its soils.
“Greece has S-300s. You do not say anything to them even though they have S-300s. These systems are also deployed in Syria, outside NATO, and you do not say anything. But when it comes to Turkey, it is hard to understand,” Erdogan said.
However, what President Erdogan didn’t say is that the S-300s that Greece operates were initially bought by Cyprus in 1997 and it was only after Turkey’s threat of a new invasion in Cyprus(!) that the USA, Cyprus and Greece decided to deliver the missile system to the latter, with Turkey agreeing to this as well.
Without directly naming the U.S., the Turkish president criticized them for not delivering the weapons, although Turkey has made their payments and hailed Russia for granting a loan on very good conditions.
“Also, we will undertake in the joint production in the second and third stages [of the S-400s],” he added.