Publicado: Sáb, Julio 13, 2019
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Russian missile delivery to Turkey strains ally's relations with US

Russian missile delivery to Turkey strains ally's relations with US

Turkey's defense ministry had earlier said that the first parts of the S-400 defense system were delivered to Ankara on Friday. A third delivery - of 120 guided missiles - will be carried out by ship at the end of the summer, the source was quoted as saying. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.

The episode has put the United States in an uncomfortable bind.

Turkey had previously ordered around 100 F-35 stealth jet fighters from the United States, and nearly 1,000 parts of the jet are even made by Turkish companies.

On Friday, the Turkish government made no attempt to hide the arrival of the missile system, broadcasting the delivery and offloading of them on local television. Russian Federation seemed "the most suitable candidate for fulfilling the country's need at the moment", he said at the time.

Russia's federal service for military and technical cooperation confirmed it had started delivering the S-400 systems and deliveries would continue on schedule.

The purchase has become a bone of contention between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Ankara and Washington, with The White House strongly opposed to the system's use in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation airspace citing practical and security concerns.

The U.S. said that Turkey's procurement of the hardware would run counter to its membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, in the latest issue between the two countries after they clashed over the Syrian conflict. "They should think deeply, because losing a country like Turkey will not be easy", Erdogan said, referring to officials in Washington.

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The two NATO ( North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies have sparred for months over Turkey's order for the S-400s, which are not compatible with the transatlantic alliance's systems. "Interoperability of our armed forces is fundamental to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for the conduct of our operations and missions".

During a visit to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Belgium late last month, acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said: "If Turkey accepts delivery of the S-400, they will not receive the F-35".

Erdogan has dismissed that possibility, but Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the programme, halting training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.

A Russian transport jet Friday brought the first delivery of the $2.2 billion missile system to a Turkish military air base outside Ankara, causing concern from Brussels to Washington. And Turkish maintenance personnel are being trained at Eglin AFB, Fla.

The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran previous year, barring countries from importing its oil. This penalizes countries that purchase military equipment from blacklisted firms.

The deal with Russian Federation, with which Erdogan's government has increasingly allied in recent years, upends the US plan to sell the advanced F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Turkey. "As long as they meet the criteria, of course we are considering the procurement of the Patriots to cover our need for a long-range air and missile defense system".

Turkey, which was scheduled to receive its first aircraft later this year, has been among nine partner nations in the program.

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