Russian air defense system will be operational as of April 2020 – Erdogan

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey could start using the Russian S-400 air defense system, which began delivery in mid-July, starting in April 2020.

“Next spring, God willing, in April 2020 we will be able to start using the S-400 system,” he said during a televised address.

Ankara has bought the Russian system despite Washington’s protests, which it says are in contradiction to NATO’s and Turkey’s membership.

Last week, Washington announced that it would exclude Turkey from the F-35 aircraft, saying it could not coexist with the S-400. Washington sees Ankara’s purchase of the Russian air defense system as a threat to the secrets of the technology aircraft that Turkey wants to supply as well.

“They will not give us F-35s, but excuse me, but in this case we will take measures in this regard and we will use others,” Erdogan said. He stressed that “any threat or punishment will not prevent” Turkey from “ensuring its security.”

Turkey and the United States this week continued talks on a “buffer zone” in northern Syria to separate the Turkish border and Kurdish-backed Kurdish guerrillas from Washington and Ankara considers them “terrorists”.

“The new proposals made by the United States on the safe area … are not satisfactory to Turkey,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mouloud Gauchoglu said on Wednesday.

On Friday, Erdogan said that “whatever the outcome of negotiations with the United States on the establishment of a buffer zone on the Syrian border, we are determined to destroy the terrorist corridor in the east of the Euphrates.”

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