First shipment of Russian S-400 systems delivered to Turkey


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 S-400 consignment was delivered to the Murted Air Base outside the capital Ankara, the ministry said in a statement which triggered a weakening in the Turkish lira to 5.712 against the dollar from 5.683 before the announcement.

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

The move will anger the U.S., which has warned that Turkey can not have both the S-400 anti-aircraft defence system and US F-35 fighter jets.

The S-400 anti-aircraft missile system on display in Moscow.

Erdogan has defended his $2.5 billion acquisition of the Russian system as part of Turkey's sovereign right to defend itself, and said he tried to purchase the USA -made Patriot air defense system but was not offered favorable terms. Erdogan, after meeting Trump at the Group of 20 Summit in June, said he did not believe that the United States would sanction Turkey.

"Turkey will not be permitted to have both systems", Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said in a statement last week.

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Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation confirmed it had started delivering the S-400 to Turkey and that the deliveries would continue as per an agreed schedule, the RIA news agency reported.

Turkey could face expulsion from the F-35 program and other US sanctions if it goes ahead with the S-400 delivery. USA officials said last week the administration still plans to impose sanctions on Turkey.

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

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

Turkey says the system is a strategic defence requirement, particularly to secure its southern borders with Syria and Iraq. Erdogan has dismissed that possibility, but Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the program, halting training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.

Turkey could also face expulsion from the F-35 programme under the sanctions. The S-400 system can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 35 km.