Turkey will activate as planned S-400 missile defense systems acquired from Russia, once the relevant military personnel complete their training, the Turkish national defense minister said Thursday.
Training efforts were ongoing on the operation of the missile defense hardware, Hulusi Akar told lawmakers in the Turkish parliament's planning and budget committee.
'After this process is completed, we will conduct our planned activities [on S-400s].'
Turkey's acquisition of the advanced Russian S-400 air-defense system prompted Washington to remove Turkey from the F-35 fifth-generation joint strike fighter program in July.
The U.S. maintains that the system could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the jet and is incompatible with NATO systems.
Turkey, however, says that the S-400 would neither be integrated into NATO systems, nor pose a threat to the alliance.
Answering questions on Turkish-backed Syrian forces fighting YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria, Akar said the Syrian National Army (SNA) was not part of 'any group' but of people loyal to and working for their country.'
'As a result of our operations, the delusion of forming a terror corridor, terror state [in northern Syria] was put to an end,' he noted.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria, east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara reached two separate deals with Washington and Moscow last month, according to which it agreed to pause its operation to allow YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the planned safe zone, where Turkey wants to repatriate millions of Syrian refugees it is currently hosting.
By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu