Turkey’s Erdogan says missile deal with Russia is final

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that his country’s plan to purchase Russia’s long-range missile defense system is a “done deal,” brushing aside concerns from some NATO allies.

Erdogan appeared at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was in Ankara for his first foreign visit since his March 18 re-election. Both the defense system agreement and Putin’s visit underscore the intensifying ties between Turkey and Russia.

In December, they finalized a deal for Turkey to purchase Russia’s long-range S-400 missile defense system, raising eyebrows among some of Turkey’s fellow NATO members.

“We have made an agreement regarding the S-400s. That subject is closed. It’s a done deal,” Erdogan said.

The warming relations between the two countries stand in contrast to the souring relations between Russia and the West over the poisoning in Britain of a Russian ex-spy. Turkey’s relations with its Western allies also have deteriorated over human rights issues and its military operations against Kurdish militia in Syria.

The Turkish leader spoke of “attempts to poison Turkish-Russian cooperation” and added: “Thank God our relations navigated these difficult tests with success. With every failed provocation, our relationship strengthened, just like steel after iron is quenched with water.”

Stars and Stripes

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