Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey is aiming to develop the defence industry and protect peace in the region.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey. (July 10, 2019)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey. (July 10, 2019) (Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday thatf US President Donald Trump has the authority to waive sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of S-400 Russian air defence systems and should find a "middle ground" in the dispute.

In a meeting with chief editors of prominent newspapers and TV channels in Istanbul, Erdogan emphasised that Turkey is only seeking to guard its national interest.

"We are not preparing for war by purchasing the S-400s. We are trying to guarantee our own national security interests and peace. This is the utmost goal of all our steps - to improve our defence industry," Erdogan said.

“A quarter-century ago Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kuwait; and in recent history, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen and Qatar and the problems caused by Israel's expansionism in the region all show what kind of result you can face when you are not strong," Erdogan continued.

Speaking on the delivery of the S-400's President Erdogan said: "Hopefully, we will complete part of this by the end of this year, and finish it by April next year."

Erdogan's comments came two days after NATO member Turkey took delivery of the first consignment of advanced Russian S-400 missile defence system parts, despite warnings from Washington that the move would trigger US sanctions.

Trump "has the authority to waive or postpone CAATSA", referring to US sanctions designed to prevent countries buying military equipment from Russia.

"Since this is the case, it is Trump who needs to find the way forward," Erdogan said.

Trump expressed sympathy for Turkey's position when he met Erdogan at a G20 summit in Japan last month, saying Ankara had bought the S-400s from Moscow because the previous US administration would not sell it Patriot missiles.

Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defence system from the US with no success, Ankara signed a contract in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.

US officials suggested that Turkey buy US Patriot missiles, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.

Turkey, however, emphasised the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Turkey has urged the formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the US has failed to respond to this proposal.

The US has threatened sanctions over the purchase, with Turkey responding that any sanctions would be met in kind.