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Turkey May Delay Delivery of S-400 System from Russia

Turkey May Delay Delivery of S-400 System from Russia

Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 - 08:30
Russian servicemen sit in the cabins of S-400 missile air defense systems in Tverskaya Street before a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade on April 29, 2019. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkey is considering delaying the delivery of the S-400 Russian missile defense system, currently scheduled for July, at the request of the United States, an informed source said Tuesday according to Reuters.

Acting US Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan expressed his country's concern over Turkey's intention to buy and deploy the defense system, but it is not known whether Ankara will accept Washington's request amid tension between the two countries and Washington's threat of imposing sanctions.

New sanctions on Turkey will deprive the country from participating in the international project to manufacture and obtain the US F-35 fighter jets and will prevent it from obtaining the Patriot defense system in the future.

US officials have called Turkey’s planned purchase of the S-400 system “deeply problematic,” saying it would risk Ankara’s partnership in the joint strike fighter F-35 program because it would compromise the jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The United States and other NATO allies that own F-35s fear the radar on the system will learn how to spot and track the jet, making it less able to evade Russian weapons.

Turkey signed an agreement with Russia in December 2017 on a loan to supply the S-400 system, where Ankara will buy two batteries of this system, occupied by Turkish employees. The two sides also reached an agreement on technological cooperation to develop the production of missile defense systems in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had telephoned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday. This was followed by a telephone conversation between the defense ministers of the two countries, Hulusi Akar and Sergei Shoigu, during which they discussed the S-400 deal and the US position.

In February, Erdogan confirmed his country's intention to move ahead with its agreement with Moscow to buy the S-400 system, stressing: “We made the S-400 deal with Russia, so it out of the question for us to turn back. That’s done.”

Last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a visit to Turkey that the organization is ready to give support in finding a solution to the current disagreement between Turkey and the US, stressing that potential Washington sanctions will also harm the alliance.

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