Turkey receives first delivery of Russian S-400 missile system: Ankara

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2019

Turkey has begun taking delivery of Russia's S-400 air-defense system, the Turkish defense ministry said on Friday, completing a deal that has shaken Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and is likely to trigger sanctions from the United States.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting United States counterpart Donald Trump last month that he was confident Ankara would not face sanctions for buying the Russian missile system.

It has said it was forced to buy the S-400s because Washington refused to supply the American-made Patriot systems to Turkey.

Delivery of parts of the Russian S-400 defense system will continue in coming days, the Turkish Defence Industry Directorate said on Friday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to believe that, whatever the Pentagon may say, Donald Trump himself is less hostile to the purchase of the Russian missiles.

The deal with Russian Federation has also raised concerns that Turkey is drifting closer to Moscow's sphere of influence. It has also said Turkey won't be allowed to participate in the program to produce the high-tech F-35 fighter jets.

While there's no immediate reaction from the Trump administration, the development is likely to trigger sanctions from the United States.

A launch vehicle for the Russian S-400 missile defence system.

Erdogan has defended his $2.5 billion acquisition of the Russian system as part of Turkey's sovereign right to defend itself, and said he tried to purchase the USA -made Patriot air defense system but was not offered favorable terms.

The US has repeatedly said that the Russian system is incompatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation systems and is a threat to the F-35.

US officials have since encouraged Turkey to buy the Patriot missile defense system instead of the S-400s.

The S-400 acquisition is one of several issues which have frayed ties between the two allies, including a dispute over strategy in Syria east of the Euphrates River, where the United States is allied with Kurdish forces that Turkey views as foes.

Erdoğan has dismissed that possibility, but Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the programme, halting aircraft training of Turkish pilots in the US.

Turkey could also face expulsion from the F-35 programme under the sanctions.

Turkey has refused to say where it intends to deploy the S-400.

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