First S-400 Missile System Parts Land in Turkey, Russia Confirms

Clay Curtis
July 12, 2019

Turkey received its first Russian S-400 missile system delivery on Friday, the defence ministry said, despite repeated warnings from its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally United States against the purchase.

The United States has warned Turkey it will face economic sanctions if it goes ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

The first S-400 parts delivered at Murted air base, the defence ministry tweeted.

A Russian Air Force AN-124 cargo jet delivered the S-400 consignment to the Murted Air Base outside the capital Ankara.

Erdogan told Trump during their meeting on the margins of the G-20 meeting in Japan that former president Barack Obama did not allow Ankara to buy Patriot missiles - an equivalent of the S-400s.

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.

Investors in Turkey have been concerned about the impact of potential United States sanctions on an economy which fell into recession after a currency crisis past year.

The United States says the purchase of Russian military hardware may lead to Ankara's expulsion from an F-35 fighter jet programme.

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Turkey has said it was forced to buy the S-400s because Washington refused to supply the American-made Patriot systems to Turkey. Last week USA officials said the administration still planned to impose sanctions on Turkey.

Ankara has refused to bow to USA pressure, insisting that choosing which defence equipment to purchase is a matter of national sovereignty.

The medium-range and long-range S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system was developed as an upgraded version of the S-300.

The Turkish air force changed the name of the base in Ankara from Akinci to Murted after it was the centre of a 2016 failed coup attempt. But Turkey said the offer does not meet its requirements, including possible future joint production.

Turkish media reports have said Turkey is expected to take delivery of two S-400 batteries.

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

Erdogan has dismissed that possibility, but Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the programme, halting training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.

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