Turkey Likely to Purchase Russian S-400 Air Defense System

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On February 21, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık announced that Turkey will likely reach a final agreement with Russia to purchase the S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) long-range air missile defense system. According to Işık, “Turkey certainly needs a missile defense system and started a program with the aim of developing [it’s] domestically produced system. This program takes time, thus [they] have held negotiations with different countries to fulfill Turkey’s urgent requirement and it seems as though Russia is the most suitable candidate for fulfilling the country’s need at the moment.” Although Minister Işık stressed the in-depth process that must be undertaken before the deal is finalized, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on February 21 that negotiations for the missile system are “continuing positively” and that “the key issue is financing.” The S-400 is an antiaircraft and antimissile system that is capable of intercepting air-breathing targets at a range of 250 miles. The Russian S-400 missile system has thus far only been sold to China and India, with Turkey being the first NATO country to purchase the system if the deal goes through.