The deployment of Russian S-400 surface-to-air-missile systems to Turkey will start in October 2019, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar stated.
"Work to install the complexes will begin in October 2019. Now we are recruiting staff. The selected staff will go to Russia for training in the beginning of 2019, get the necessary knowledge there, then come back and get to work," the minister said, as cited by the Yeni Safak newspaper.
According to the minister, the US F-35 fighter jet program is to be continued as planned, with the next jets in the program to be delivered in March of next year.
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that Turkey expects to receive the Russian S-400 missile defense systems in the near future.
In December 2017, Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement to supply S-400s to Ankara. According to a statement by the Turkish defense industry secretariat, two S-400 batteries will be operated and serviced by the Turkish military.