"We discussed the S-400 subject with Russia. Indeed the S-400 issue is settled," Turkish President Erdogan was cited as saying. "I think they will start to come in the first half of July."

The purchase of advance Russian air defence system has become a point of contention between Turkey and the US.
The purchase of advance Russian air defence system has become a point of contention between Turkey and the US. (AA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he expected Russian S-400 missile defence systems to start arriving in Turkey in the first half of July, broadcaster NTV reported on Sunday, an issue which has mounted tensions with the US.

"We discussed the S-400 subject with Russia. Indeed the S-400 issue is settled," Erdogan was cited as telling reporters on his plane returning from a visit to Tajikistan, where he attended a summit and met Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I think they will start to come in the first half of July," he added, giving a more specific forecast than he has in the past.

US acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan this month outlined how Turkey would be pulled out of the F-35 fighter jet programme unless Ankara changed course from its plans to buy the missile systems.

President Erdogan said he would discuss the issue with US President Donald Trump when they meet at this month's G-20 summit.

"When someone lower down says different things, then we immediately make contact with Mr Trump and try to solve issues with telephone diplomacy. Matters don't take long there," he said.

Turkey already proposed to form a joint working group to assess whether the S-400 will pose a threat to NATO or not.

Tensions between the US and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia.

US officials have suggested Turkey buy the US Patriot missile system rather than the S-400, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems and is a threat to the F-35 fifth-generation stealth aircraft.

Turkey said it was the US refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russia offered a better deal, including technology transfers.

Source: Reuters