Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile defense system will not impact the purchase of the F-35 fighter aircrafts, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Tuesday.
"Turkey has taken part in F-35 projects many years ago, and the delivery will start in the coming years. It is not related to the purchase of S-400," Nurettin Canikli told journalists.
Turkey and Russia have completed the negotiations on S-400 deal and the first deliveries are scheduled for early 2020.
The S-400 is Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system with a capacity of carrying 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).
Canikli said that Turkey has fulfilled its obligations for the project.
"We had paid the money, and we are still paying it," said Canikli, while pointing to the international agreement on the purchase of F-35 fighter jets.
Turkey had already placed an order for the first two F-35 jets for the projected fleet of 100 F-35A aircraft in 2014 and plans to deploy the aircraft by 2019.
The F-35s will replace the aging fleet of F-4 and F-16 aircraft. On Dec.12, last year, the Pentagon said that Italy and Turkey would provide the initial heavy maintenance of the F-35 fighter jet and its engine in Europe from 2018.
The modern F35 fighter is being developed and built by the U.S defense contractor Lockheed Martin for the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Italy, Norway, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada in a project worth about $400 billion, making it the world's most expensive weapons' program.
Turkey's Defense Industry Executive Committee in 2010 started the TFX project for the production of an indigenous fighter plane to replace Turkey’s F-16 fleet, and that would work together with the Stealth F-35.