Despite U.S. warnings, Russian air defense equipment arrives in Turkey

First shipment of Russian S-400 defence systems arrive in Turkey

Delivery of S-400 system parts to continue in coming days, Turkey says | Kathimerini

"If Turkey procures the S-400, it will mean they will not receive the F-35. Our position regarding the F-35 has not changed, and I will speak with my Turkish counterpart Minister Akar this afternoon", Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters Friday. The United States has threatened to impose sanctions on Ankara, saying Russian military hardware is not compatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation systems and that the acquisition may lead to Turkey's expulsion from an F-35 fighter jet programme.

Washington has previously told its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally that Ankara's adoption of Russian S-400 missile technology alongside high-tech U.S. F-35 fighters was incompatible and would endanger Western defence.

Despite warnings from the US that buying the Russian system could prompt sanctions, Turkey went ahead with the deal.

The US fears that if Ankara integrates the S-400 into its defences there is a risk that sensitive data about its F-35 could leak back to the Russians and it has threatened to expel Turkey from its fighter jet programme.

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 maintains that it has fulfilled all of its financial obligations concerning the F-35 programme and can not be excluded from the project. "There's no problem and the process will continue in a healthy way going forward".

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Erdogan has expressed confidence that his relationship with Trump will override USA sanctions concerns.

Ankara's deal with Moscow has been a major source of tension between Turkey and Washington.

The Murted base, northwest of Ankara, was formerly known as Akinci Air Base.

The U.S. said that Turkey's procurement of the hardware would run counter to its membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, in the latest issue between the two countries after they clashed over the Syrian conflict.

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.

At the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, last month, Trump blamed the Obama administration for not allowing Turkey instead to buy Patriot missiles, the American alternative, implying the conditions his predecessor imposed on the potential sale were too harsh.

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Turkish news organization Hurriyet reported more equipment related to the S-400s will arrive in the coming days. The Russian Ministry of Defense tweeted footage of the plane carrying the S-400s touching down in Turkey.

Turkey says the system is a strategic defence requirement, particularly to secure its southern borders with Syria and Iraq.

It's a Russian-made, long-range, surface-to-air defense system.

Turkey's dollar bonds dropped to three-week lows on the news of the delivery, while the cost of insuring exposure to Turkish sovereign debt also rose.

Akar said Turkish military personnel were being trained in Russian Federation and in Turkey on how to install and use the system.

Turkey maintains that it has fulfilled all of its financial obligations concerning the F-35 program and can not be excluded from the project.

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The US has already halted deliveries of the aircraft to Turkey and suspended the training of Turkish pilots. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said later that Ankara would begin the deployment of the S-400 systems in October 2019.

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