Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Ankara is still negotiating with Moscow about a technology transfer as part of its controversial purchase of Russia's S-400 air-defense missile system.
Cavusoglu said buying the missile system -- which caused great concern among Turkey's NATO allies when it was officially announced on December 27 -- was necessary and that Turkey "needed it urgently."
"We wanted to buy it from our NATO allies, but it did not work out," Cavusoglu told dpa in an interview. "Russia gave me the best deal. And that is why I bought it from Russia."
The reported $2.5 billion deal is still set to move ahead, Cavusoglu said, despite the still unconcluded issue over the technology transfer.
"They told us in principle that there will be joint production and also technology transfer," he said. "But this is an issue to negotiate in the medium-term and long-term."
He said the first deliveries of the missile system are due to begin in 2020.
Based on reporting by dpa