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Russia waiting for Turkey to work out second S-400 missile system deal: Official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows a Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system in an undisclosed location in Russia. (Photo by the Hurriyet Daily)

Russia’s state-owned hi-tech conglomerate, Rostec Corporation, says the country is waiting for Turkey to negotiate the acquisition of another batch of advanced S-400 missile defense system.

“The ball is now in Turkey’s court. We are waiting for our partners to make decisions. Rosoboronexport (Russia's state arms exporter) maintains contact with Turkey. Discussions on future cooperation are underway. We are also discussing the possibilities of producing components there,” Sergei Chemezov, the chief executive of Rostec, said at a news briefing in Moscow on Monday.

He added that Russia has executed the first contract for the delivery of S-400 air defense systems to Turkey, noting all components of the systems have been delivered and full payment has been received.

Chemezov highlighted that S-400 missile defense systems incorporate sophisticated technologies, saying it is impossible to start producing them from scratch.

“It was a unique deal because it was made with a NATO member state. We are in talks with our Turkish partners on other equipment as well. The prospects are bright,” he said.

Back in April 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said in Ankara that they had agreed to expedite the delivery of the S-400. At the time, it was said that the delivery could be made between late 2019 and early 2020.

A number of NATO member states have criticized Turkey over its purchase of the S-400, arguing the missile batteries are not compatible with those of the military alliance.

On November 12, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar downplayed concerns over his country's intention to utilize S-400 air defense systems, saying Ankara will use the armament just as other members of the NATO military alliance employ their S-300 defense systems.

The S-400 is an advanced Russian missile defense system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It had previously been sold only to China and India.

Ankara is striving to boost its air defense, particularly after Washington decided in 2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from Turkish border with Syria, a move that weakened Turkey’s air defense.

Before gravitating towards Russia, the Turkish military reportedly walked out of a $3.4-billion contract for a similar Chinese system. The withdrawal took place under purported pressure from Washington.

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