17:15 GMT19 September 2020
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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Russia's S-400 air defence systems, acquired by Turkey, do not pose a threat to the US fifth-generation F-35 fighter aircraft, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

    "We have been unable to receive such systems from our allies for 10 years and now we get S-400 from Russia. The United States says that S-400 will increase the vulnerability of F-35 aircraft. We do not think so, but let the experts express their opinion. We have proposed to create a joint commission, if they are so concerned about that. However, we have not received a response from the United States so far," Cavusoglu told reporters.

    According to the minister, S-400 air defence systems in Turkey will be under total control of Ankara.

    "There are S-400 systems in Syria and US warplanes flew dozens of times in this region. NATO aircraft fly in Norway [S-400 systems are stationed near border with Russia] and nobody worries about that. Therefore, we do not see a big problem and reasons for concern. But again, if this is a problem for them, let's discuss that. Our NATO allies must understand that we need air defense systems very urgently, and if we do not receive them from our allies, then we will take them where we can," Cavusoglu said.

    READ MORE: Turkey Insists It Will Remain Part of F-35 Programme Despite US Threats

    Turkey is one of the participants in the US F-35 international program. Washington has repeatedly threatened Ankara with sanctions for possible acquisition of Russian S-400 air defence systems and has not ruled out delaying or canceling the process of selling the F-35 aircraft to Turkey. Ankara, in its turn, has said that purchase of military equipment is its sovereign affair and ruled out the possibility of abandoning its plans.

    In December 2017, Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement for the delivery of S-400 air defence systems to Ankara.

    The first shipment of S-400 air defence systems is expected to be delivered to Ankara in July.


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