May 18, 2019 / 9:10 PM / a month ago

Turkey's Erdogan says will jointly produce S-500s with Russia after purchase of S-400s

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks at North Atlantic Council Mediterranean Dialogue Meeting in Ankara, Turkey, May 6, 2019. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that the purchase of S-400 defense systems from Russia was a done deal, adding that Ankara would also jointly produce S-500 defense systems with Moscow.

U.S. officials have called Turkey’s planned purchase of the S-400 missile defense system “deeply problematic,” saying it would risk Ankara’s partnership in the joint strike fighter F-35 program because it would compromise the jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

However, Erdogan told a televised question and answer session with university students in Istanbul that Turkey had carried out technical work and found that such a problem did not exist.

“They (the U.S.) are passing the ball around in the midfield now, showing some reluctance. But sooner or later, we will receive the F-35s. (The U.S.) not delivering them is not an option.”

Reporting by Ece Toksabay; editing by Diane Craft

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