A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey has postponed plans to deploy the Russian S-400 missile defense system due to the outbreak of the Corona virus.
Ibrahim Kalin said during an online meeting hosted by the Atlantic Council, "There is a postponement due to the Corona virus, but (the deployment of the system) will proceed as scheduled."
He added that President Erdoan has informed US President Donald Trump several times that he is interested in purchasing Patriot missiles.
Earlier, Erdogan said that the S-400 system would be operational last April, but the Corona pandemic focused Turkish efforts on combating the outbreak and supporting an economy facing its second recession in two years.
The United States says that the Russian system is incompatible with NATO's defense systems and will endanger the American F-35s that Turkey intends to purchase.
If Turkey operates the system, this would expose it to US sanctions under the Act to Address America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which aims to punish countries that buy defense equipment from Russia.
In this regard, the US ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield said that this matter was reported to the Turkish administration more than once.
He added, "We made our position explicitly to President Erdogan and to all members of the senior leadership in Turkey, which is that operating the S-400 system significantly exposes Turkey to congressional sanctions," and added, "We have not received guarantees from the Turkish government that allow us to calm these concerns."
It is noteworthy that, last October, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that his country may buy the American Patriot system and overcome the obstacles related to the F-35 fighter project, stressing that his country is in the center of NATO and will not look for another place for it to buy the missile system.
The Patriot system protects military installations and air bases from air attacks, and the basis of its work is long-term defense, and it can hit air targets at a range of 160 km, and ballistic missiles at a range of 75 km.