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Turkey Continues to Receive Russian S-400 Missiles

15 July 2019

Deliveries of the Russian systems to Turkey began on 12 July, when three cargo planes delivered several tractors and a loading vehicle from the S-400 complex to Murted Airbase. The system's 48N6E3 surface-to-air missiles can hit aerodynamic targets at altitudes of 10,000-27,000 meters and ballistic threats at altitudes of 2,000-25,000 meters.

The ministry also said two more planes were expected to arrive within the day.

The U.S. has threatened sanctions over the purchase, with Turkey responding that any sanctions would be met in kind.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and US President Donald Trump at a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 29, 2019.

As is known, the signing by Turkey of an agreement with the Russian Federation regarding the supply of the S-400 air defense system was sharply criticized in the West.

"Turkey's move to buy the systems from Russian Federation has caused tensions in relations with the USA and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies".

The United States has repeatedly warned it will impose economic sanctions and kick Turkey out of the F-35 stealth fighter jet program if Ankara does not drop its S-400 purchase. Turkey, a member of the alliance, claims it was forced to take the unprecedented step of buying the sophisticated Russian equipment in 2017 after the U.S. refused to supply the alternative Patriot missile defence system. "Unfortunately, he has clearly made the wrong one", said Eliot Engel and Michael McFaul, the top Democrat and Republican respectively on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Turkey has urged formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the US has failed to respond to this proposal.

Worldwide relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul's Kadir Has University said Ankara is miscalculating. I don't think so.

Turkey's decision to acquire the S-400 threatens to erode the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, which many observers suspect is Moscow's end goal. Earlier this month, Senator Lindsey Graham appeared to raise the bar for sanctions, saying they may be triggered only when the missile system is activated. Ankara has given mixed messages over the timing of the activation of the missile system.

Turkey has refused to bow to USA pressure, saying its defense purchase is a matter of national sovereignty.

"We're not getting ready for war by purchasing the S-400s".

Turkey Continues to Receive Russian S-400 Missiles