Published: Fri, July 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

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

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

Ankara received the first batch of Russia's S-400 missile defence system hardware on Friday, Turkey's defence ministry said.

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

News about Russian-Turkish talks on the delivery of the S-400 systems first came in November 2016.

The S-400 consignment was delivered to the Murted Air Base outside the capital Ankara, Turkey's defense ministry said earlier Friday, in a statement which triggered a weakening in the Turkish lira to 5.7 against the dollar from 5.6775 on Wednesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said excluding the nation from the F-35 program would be "robbery", since Ankara has already invested money in it.

The purchase has become a bone of contention between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Ankara and Washington, with The White House strongly opposed to the system's use in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation airspace citing practical and security concerns.

The US State Department has said that Turkish officials are fully aware of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a law passed by Congress in 2017 that mandates sanctions for any "significant" purchases of weapons from Russian Federation.

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Washington has also said Turkey will not be allowed to participate in the programme to produce hi-tech F-35 fighter jets. Erdogan, after meeting Trump at the Group of 20 Summit in June, said he did not believe that the United States would sanction Turkey. Last week U.S. officials said the administration still planned to impose sanctions on Turkey.

Russia's federal service for military and technical cooperation confirmed it had started delivering the S-400 systems and deliveries would continue on schedule. But Turkey says the offer does not meet its requirements, including possible future joint production.

These range from banning visas and denying access to the US-based Export-Import Bank, to the harsher options of blocking transactions with the United States financial system and denying export licences.

The US has already stopped training Turkish pilots on the F-35, and given Ankara until the end of July to get its personnel out of the US.

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.

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

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