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France says Turkish-Russia missile deal a sovereign decision

France says Turkish-Russia missile deal a sovereign decision

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday indicated that Turkey went ahead with the purchase of Russia's S-400 missile system because it was exhausted of waiting for another supplier.

The purchase of the missile systems from a non-NATO supplier is raising concerns in the West over their technical compatibility with the alliance's equipment. "We are taking important steps", Erdogan said.

"They went insane because we made the S-400 agreement". The deal is said to be worth around $2.5 billion.

"We have relayed our concerns to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400".

"I and Mr. Putin are determined on this issue", he added. "A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation interoperable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in its region", spokesman Johnny Michael said in a statement.

France considers it inappropriate to comment on the contract between Moscow and Ankara on deliveries of Russia's S-400 air defense systems to Turkey, as it was a decision made by the country alone, French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne said on Wednesday.

The deal cements a recent rapprochement with Russian Federation, despite differences over the war in Syria, and comes as Turkey's ties with the United States and the European Union have become strained. Two years later, NATO Patriot missile batteries were withdrawn from Turkey.

Turkey faced similar worries during the Iran-Iraq War and the First and Second Gulf Wars due to the ballistic missiles possessed by those countries.

Hurriyet newspaper quoted Erdogan on Tuesday as telling a group of reporters that signatures have been put on accords and that Turkey has made a down payment on the surface-to-air defense systems.

It can track and engage up to 300 targets at the same time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers (17 miles).


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