Turkey Says It's Close to Deal With Russia Over S-400 Missile Defense System

Turkish defense minister says NATO allies did not offer financially viable alternative

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, tour the Kremlin after talks in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 10, 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, tour the Kremlin after talks in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 10, 2017. Alexei Druzhinin/AP

Turkey's talks with Russia about the purchase of the S-400 air missile defense system have reached a "final stage," although this does not mean a deal will be signed immediately, Defense Minister Fikri Isik said on Friday. 

Isik also told a news conference that NATO countries have not presented a "financially effective" offer on an alternative defense system. NATO member Turkey in 2015 cancelled a $3.4 billion tender for a long-range missile defense system that had been provisionally awarded to China. 

Turkey then said it would consider developing a missile system locally, but that stance later shifted. 

"It is clear that Turkey needs a missile defense system but NATO member countries have not presented on offer which is financially effective," Isik told a news conference.

"Work on the S-400 has reached a final point. But the final stage does not mean 'let's sign a deal tomorrow morning.'" 

He said Turkey would not be able to integrate the S-400 into the NATO system. 

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan would meet in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi on May 3 to discuss the situation in Syria, the RIA news agency reported.