Russia’s S-400 air defense missile systems are important for Turkey as they minimize the country’s external dependence, the Anadolu news agency quoted Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu as saying on Friday.

“The purchase of S-400 air defense missile systems meets Turkey’s national interests that have nothing to do with politics. The Russian systems minimize Turkey’s external dependence. This is very important for our country,” the interior minister said.

It was reported in November 2016 that Turkey was in talks with Russia on purchasing S-400 air defense missile systems. The contract’s signing was confirmed by the Russian side on September 12, 2017 and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced at the time that Turkey had already made an advance payment under the contract.

Turkey became the second foreign buyer of the S-400 system after China and the first NATO member country to get the surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.

Different timeframes of the S-400 delivery to Turkey were mentioned earlier. In March 2018, Russian presidential aide for military and technical cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said that Russia planned to deliver the regiment set of S-400 missile systems to Turkey in early 2020.

In February, Head of Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov said in an interview with The Washington Post that the systems would be handed over to the customer in 2019 but did not specify the date.

The S-400 Triumf is the Russian long-and medium-range air defense missile system intended to hit attack and reconnaissance planes, including stealth aircraft, and any other air targets. The S-400 can engage up to 80 targets at a time at a distance of 400 km and an altitude of 30 km.

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