Erdogan says Turkey's position on procurement of Russian S-400s unchanged

NATO summit on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Brussels
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference following a NATO summit, in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

ANKARA, March 25 (Reuters) - Turkey's position on its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems is unchanged and the matter is a "done deal", President Tayyip Erdogan was cited as saying on Friday, adding talks with Washington on new F-16 jets and kits were going well.

The United States imposed sanctions on NATO member Turkey's defence industry in December 2020 over the S-400s and expelled Ankara from the F-35 stealth fighter jet programme, where it was a manufacturer and buyer. Ankara says the moves are unjust.

Broadcaster Haberturk cited Erdogan as telling reporters on a return flight from a NATO summit in Brussels that he hoped positive talks on purchasing new F-16 jets and modernisation kits from Washington would yield results soon.

He also dismissed reports that U.S. officials had informally raised with Turkey the unlikely possibility of sending the S-400 systems to Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, saying "all they do is cause commotion" in reference to Washington.

Erdogan said he also discussed the possibility of buying SAMP-T missile defence systems from the Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi at the summit.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu Editing by Daren Butler

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