Turkey began taking delivery of the advanced Russian S-400 missile defense system on Friday, a move expected to trigger US sanctions.
The first batch of S-400 parts started arriving Friday at Murted Airbase near Ankara, the Turkish defense ministry said in a statement.
“The delivery of parts belonging to the system will continue in the coming days,” Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate said. “Once the system is completely ready, it will begin to be used in a way determined by the relevant authorities.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s federal service for military and technical cooperation confirmed the start of the deliveries of S-400 missile systems to Turkey, and said the delivery would be completed within the agreed time frame.
A second delivery by air will take place soon, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted an unnamed military-diplomatic source as saying. A third delivery – of 120 guided missiles – will be carried out by ship at the end of the summer, the source said.
The US has long warned that Turkey risked being blocked from receiving the advanced F-35 stealth jet due to Ankara’s insistence on acquiring the Russian missiles – a system US officials fear could be used to analyze and collect intelligence on the F-35.
The US is also expected to level sanctions against Turkey over its acquisition of the Russian system, penalties mandated by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) which penalizes countries that purchase military equipment from blacklisted firms.
[Sources: Daily Sabah, Reuters, CNN, DW]