Published: Fri, July 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Turkey defies USA as Russian S-400 missile defence arrives

Turkey defies USA as Russian S-400 missile defence arrives

Turkey has received the first shipment of S-400 air defense missile system equipment from Moscow, defying pressure from Washington to scrap the arms deal with Russian Federation.

The purchase created a rift between Turkey and U.S. which argues the Russian systems are not compatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation equipment and may compromise its F-35 jets.

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

Earlier in the day, Turkey's Defence Ministry said "the first group of equipment of the S-400 long-range regional air and missile defence system has started to Murted Airport", referring to a military airport in the Turkish capital.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting of the NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, May 6, 2019.

USA officials are anxious the Turkey-Russia deal could give the Kremlin access to crucial intelligence shared between Washington. and Turkey and compromise North Atlantic Treaty Organisation developments.

"Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 air and missile defense system remains incompatible with the F-35 program".


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

Russia's federal service for military and technical cooperation confirmed it had started delivering the S-400 systems and deliveries would continue on schedule. Last year, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkey over its, triggering a Turkish currency crisis.

Turkey has refused to bow to US pressure, insisting that choosing which equipment to purchase is a matter of national sovereignty.

"We've always said regarding the S-400s that it's an agreement that has been finalised and the process continues to progress", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.

The Murted base was formerly known as Akinci Air Base and was used by putschist soldiers in the failed 2016 coup. But Turkey said the offer does not meet its requirements, including possible future joint production.

Meanwhile, Turkish state TV reported that two more planes transporting S-400 components landed in Turkey at an airbase in the Ankara Province.

Turkey maintains that it has fulfilled all of its financial obligations concerning the F-35 program and can not be excluded from the project. Last month, the Pentagon revealed plans to phase out Turkey's participation in the F-35 program altogether by July 31. Turkish media reports have said it could take until October for the system to be fully operational.

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