World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey has signed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 missile defence systems in its first major weapons purchase from Moscow, Turkish newspapers Tuesday quoted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying.
"Signatures have been made for the purchase of S-400s from Russia. A deposit has also been paid as far as I know," Erdogan said in comments published in the Hurriyet daily and other newspapers.
"(Russian President Vladimir Putin) and myself are determined on this issue," he told journalists.
The purchase of the missile systems from a non-NATO supplier will raise concerns in the West over their technical compatibility with the alliance's equipment.
The Pentagon has already sounded the alarm, saying bluntly that "generally it's a good idea" for NATO allies to buy inter-operable equipment.
Erdogan said Turkey was free to make military acquisitions based on its defence needs.
"Nobody has the right to discuss the Turkish republic's independence principles or independent decisions about its defence industry," he said in the comments published Tuesday.
"We make the decisions about our own independence ourselves, we are obliged to take safety and security measures in order to defend our country."
The Turkish leader said the process would continue with a transfer of Russian credit to Turkey.
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