There are no legal grounds for Turkey to sell the S-400 defence systems purchased from Russia, the press secretary of the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), Omer Celik, said at a Tuesday press briefing. He also noted that Ankara initially intended to buy US-made Patriot systems, but received no answer from Washington.
Celik stated that Turkey was the "final user" of the defence system, and therefore there are no grounds for the country to re-sell it.
His remarks come as Russia’s Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation noted that Ankara would not be able to re-sell S-400 systems to the United States without the agreement of Moscow.
"To export military products, a buyer of our weapons must present an end-user declaration to the Russian side. That is why transfer or re-export of such products to third countries is impossible without an official permit from the Russian side", a Federal Service spokesperson said.
Earlier, US Senate Majority Whip John Thune introduced legislation that would allow the United States to buy Turkey's Russian-made S-400 defence system, the purchase of which by Ankara in 2019 caused Washington to expel the nation from its F-35 jet fighter program and threaten to impose sanctions on the country. According to the White House, S-400 systems may allegedly compromise F-35 jet operations and fail to meet NATO standards.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his intention to continue cooperation with Russia on defence gear, although progress has been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic.