A Russian weapon system with sensitive radars in Turkey – hence NATO airspace: a great security risk, it scolds the United States and threatens sanctions. Now the first deliveries are coming from Moscow.
Ankara – The first deliveries of the controversial S-400 Russian missile defense system for Turkey are on the way. This was confirmed on Friday by the Ministry of Defense in Ankara. Thus, a strong conflict with the United States is at its peak. The US government is strictly against the purchase and use of the Russian system in NATO airspace and threatens sanctions. Last year, US sanctions severely damaged the Turkish economy and currency due to an American pastor detained in Turkey.
Among other things, the Washington government fears that Russia will be able to obtain data on the capabilities of the new US F-35 stealth aircraft through the sensitive S-400 radar. Turkey is a partner in the construction of the F-35 and should get about 100 jets. The United States is now threatening to throw Turkey out of the F-35 program, despite payments of over $ 1 billion already made at the end of July.
Furthermore, the sanctions could be transferred to Turkey under the terms of the Opponents of the American counterpart through the Sanctions Act (CAATSA). This is business with the Russian defense sector and includes, for example, bans on real estate transactions and visa restrictions.
Turkey has intensified its attempts to dispel NATO partner's concerns for days. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu has repeatedly stated that the system is used only in an emergency. The newspaper Cumhuriyet said earlier that the S-400 would work with an independent radar and not network with other systems. It also concerns NATO's airborne defense.
The other NATO members have so far held back the criticism of public opinion. Some fear that the business and the conflict with the United States could lead to a further rapprochement between Turkey and Russia – and thus to an erosion of the Alliance. The topic is treated as a bilateral issue. "All parties are very interested in the fact that the alliance is not damaged," said a NATO diplomat from the German press agency.
Turkish channel Habertürk reported that Russian technicians were already in the country from Monday onwards. The declaration of the Ministry of Defense stated that the S-400 should have arrived at the Ankara air base, Mürted Hava Üssü (ex Akinci). President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that the military headquarters will decide where the S-400 would be stationed.
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