In challenge to U.S., NATO, Turkey starts getting S-400s

In challenge to U.S., NATO, Turkey starts getting S-400s

U.S. officials urged Turkey to buy U.S. Patriot missiles, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge. After meeting with Erdogan on the sidelines of a Group of 20 nations summit in June, Trump blamed problems between the countries on his predecessor Barack Obama's failure to make a deal with Turkey. The main Istanbul share index fell 1.4 per cent.

Turkey's defense ministry tweeted the landing of a fourth Russian cargo plane in Murted Air Base, near the capital, Ankara.

The Russian state news agency reported a second batch will arrive in the near future and a third one will be delivered at the end of the summer.

Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper declined comment, but report are suggesting that U.S. officials are in generally discussing possible ways to "punish" Turkey for buying Russian, even though Turkey was under no obligation to buy American arms.

The Pentagon canceled a planned briefing Friday, and the White House and the State Department have yet to respond.

Ankara sees the system as a strategic defense requirement as it faces security threats from its southern borders with Syria and Iraq. Tensions between the United States and Turkey have escalated in recent months over the deal.

However, U.S. officials have said that the Trump administration still plans to impose the sanctions on Turkey and remove it from the F-35 program.

"That a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally would choose to side with Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin over the alliance and closer cooperation with the United States is hard to fathom", the Democratic chairman and the ranking Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a joint statement.

The US State Department has said Turkish officials are fully aware of legislation - the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act - which mandates sanctions for any "significant" purchases of weapons from Russian Federation.

These range from banning visas and denying access to the US -based Export-Import Bank, to the harsher options of blocking transactions with the USA financial system and denying export licences.

The US fears that if Ankara integrates the S-400 into its defences, data about the US-built F-35 fighter jet could leak back to the Russians, and Washington has threatened to deny Turkey access to the stealth aircraft, the report added.

A spike in tensions between the U.S. and Turkey could call into question the future of USA deterrence assets stored in country, specifically the nuclear weapons at Incirlik air base, as well as F-35 production processes that are completed in Turkey.

Demir said such sanctions could have a brief impact on Turkey's defence industry.

He called on the global community to respect Turkey's sovereignty rights.

The relationship between the USA and Turkey has deteriorated over the course of the civil war in Syria, where US backing for Kurdish militants has frustrated Turkey, which considers the group an extension of the separatists it's fighting at home.

According to him, the S-400 regiment set for Turkey had already been manufactured.

The deliveries make it nearly certain the Middle East's largest economy will be subject to punitive US action.

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