Russian Federation and Turkey Seal Deal on Controversial Missile System

Russian S-400 air defense systems. Turkey has purchased four

Moscow and Ankara have signed a $2.5-billion credit agreement on the purchase of S-400 air defense missile systems from Russian Federation, according to Turkish media.

National Defense Minister of Turkey Nurettin Canikli confirmed the statement and added that the S-400 deal had been concluded.

He noted Moscow was expected to begin the first deliveries in March 2020 and that Turkey was the first North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member state to acquire the advanced S-400 missile system. "A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation interoperable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in its region".

Last week, Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, said during an event in Washington that Turkey should it go ahead with the acquisition would be "facing the consequences of that decision".

The move has alarmed Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies amid tensions with Moscow.

The contract for the project has been finished, Turkey's undersecretariat for defense industries said in a statement, and Turkey has sent a down payment for the $2.5 billion purchase.

Russian Federation will provide Turkey with four batteries of S-400 surface-to-air missile system under the deal and the latter will pay 45 percent of the cost up front with Moscow providing loans to cover the remaining 55 percent.

Chemezov said Turkey would pay for 45 percent of the deal's cost up front with Moscow providing loans to cover the rest, Reuters noted.

The two countries have been working on the arms deal for around a year.

Turkey reportedly will begin receiving the S-400 system in March 2020.

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