The delivery of Russian S-400 air defense systems to Turkey will continue, despite the delay due to the coronavirus, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalyn said.
“There was a delay due to the coronavirus, but this (delivery of the S-400) will continue as planned,” Kalyn said during an online conference at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
As previously stated by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, the country plans to complete the installation of the S-400 and put them on combat duty in April.
Kalyn also recalled that Turkey “spent an incredible amount of time” trying to convince the US to sell the Patriot air defense system, but “we were refused on the terms we asked for.” At the same time, Russia offered the S-400 “without preconditions.”
Deliveries of the latest Russian S-400 air defense systems, which caused a crisis in Turkey’s relations with the United States, began in mid-July 2019. Washington demanded to abandon the deal and instead purchase American patriot complexes, threatening to delay or cancel the sale of the latest F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, as well as impose sanctions under CAATSA (the law “On countering America’s adversaries through sanctions”). Ankara refused to make concessions.