Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Turkey has the right to choose its own military aircraft, amid Ankara's deal to buy missile-defense systems from Russia.
As a NATO member, Turkey decided to buy the best of its class with Russia's S-400 missile defense, Putin said.
His remarks came during a meeting with officials of leading global news agencies, including Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Metin Mutanoglu, Anadolu Agency's deputy director-general, also attended the meeting.
Under an accelerated timetable for the S-400 deal, Russia's first deliveries of the S-400 to Turkey are due in late 2019 or early 2020.
The S-400, Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system, can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets including ballistic and cruise missiles.
Putin said that Russia already delivered weapons to other NATO member countries, notably Greece with the earlier generation S-300 systems.
He criticized the attitude against Turkey's purchase of S-400 systems as “unfair”.
Putin also said that he discussed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan possible joint defense industry production.
'F-35 jets unrelated to Russian deal'
In March, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said that the purchase of U.S. F-35 jets was unrelated to the Russian S-400 missile-defense system deal.
“Turkey entered into the F-35 project many years ago, and the delivery will start in the coming years. It is not related to the purchase of the S-400," Canikli said.
On Friday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy slammed moves by the U.S. Congress to kill the F-35 deal, saying: “We have fulfilled our responsibilities in the F-35 program. Everyone’s responsibility has been ascertained in the framework of the signed deal and we expect them to be accomplished.”
In 2014, Turkey placed an order for the first two F-35 jets for a projected fleet of 100 F-35A aircraft and plans to deploy the aircraft by 2019.
The first delivery of the F-35s to Turkey is slated for June 21.