Turkey to purchase Russian S-400s with local currency, says Erdoğan
‘Deliveries will begin toward the end of 2019 and we will have actualized our goal of purchasing using local currency,’ says Turkish president
News ServiceYeni Şafak
Turkey will purchase Russia’s S-400 missile defense system using local currency, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said while speaking to journalists at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport before departing for the G20 summit in Argentina.
“When we started this deal, we had one principle. And that was to finalize this purchase with local currency. We have decided among ourselves whether this will be the Russian ruble or Turkish lira,” Erdoğan said.
“However, our central banks have not yet completed their final work. We have about a year. Deliveries will begin toward the end of 2019 and from then, we will have actualized our goal of purchasing using local currency,” he added.
The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles. The system can track and engage up to 300 targets at a time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers (17 miles).
“When I spoke with Mr. [Vladimir] Putin, we mainly discussed the developments with Ukraine and what can be done about it and whether we can be a mediator. I discussed the matter with both sides. Mr. Putin and Mr. [Petro] Poroshenko both had requests and I will pass these on to Mr. Putin during our meeting in Argentina,” Erdoğan said, referring to two separate phone calls he held with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday.
On Sunday, Russia seized two Ukrainian navy ships and a navy tugboat along with 23 crew members off Crimea, accusing Kiev of entering its waters and provoking a conflict.
It said the vessels had ignored calls to stop, sparking military action.
Russia intervened as the Ukrainian ships were relocating from the Black Sea port of Odessa to the port of Mariupol in the Sea of Azov.
Ukraine also accused Russian warships of opening fire on the ships, asserting that crew members were wounded and the vessels were seized by Russia.
Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum. Turkey, as well as the UN General Assembly, viewed the annexation as illegal.
Erdoğan to discuss Manbij with Trump
“I will meet with Mr. [Donald] Trump in Argentina and we will discuss Manbij,” Erdoğan said.
Turkish and U.S. troops began joint patrols in Manbij, northeast of the Aleppo Governorate in Syria, on Nov. 1 as part of an agreement that focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region.
The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist group recognized by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU which in its 30-year terror campaign has taken some 40,000 lives.
The U.S. has claimed the YPG/PKK is an “ally” in the fight against Daesh over Turkey’s objections that one cannot use one terrorist group to fight another.
Turkey has repeatedly cited evidence that the YPG is no different from the PKK.
Erdoğan to visit three South American countries
Erdoğan reiterated plans to pay official visits to Paraguay and Venezuela from Dec. 2-3 after attending the G20 summit in Argentina.
These will be the first visits to Paraguay and Venezuela on the presidential level.
“I have had the opportunity to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on a few occasions recently. These meetings accelerated our political and economic ties. During the [upcoming] visit, we will discuss how to develop our bilateral relations in every aspect. I believe that these visits will have great significance in terms of strengthening our ties with Paraguay and Venezuela,” Erdoğan said.