Turkey received another shipment of Russian S-400 air defense equipment Saturday, reported Reuters.
Turkish Ministry of Defence announced that four Russian cargo planes have already offloaded S-400 systems at the Akinci Air Base near the capital of Turkey Ankara. The delivery of the Russian-made defense equipment started Friday.
The US has tried to prevent the purchase of S-400 system by Turkey, claiming it was incompatible with NATO systems. US also threaten to withdraw Turkey from the F-35 program by the end of the month if Turkey accepts the S-400s and impose economic sanctions against the country.
According to Turkish Defence Ministry, S-400 was purchased in order to secure Southern borders with Iraq and Syria and that Europe or the US have no alternative systems that would be as efficient as the Russian S-400.
Hulusi Akar, Turkish Defence Minister stated that “in parallel with S-400 supplies, work to train personnel to install and operate these systems will continue in Turkey and Russia.” He also added that Turkey is planning to purchase more US Patriot missile systems.
“Minister Akar told his U.S. counterpart that Turkey remains under a serious air and missile threat and that purchase of S-400 defense systems was not an option but rather a necessity,” said a statement by the Ministry of Defence.
On Friday, when the first shipment was delivered to Turkey, Pentagon was scheduled to hold a press-briefing, however, it was “indefinitely” postponed. Many American media reports argued Pentagon had nothing much to say on the matter. US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper reportedly spoke to Mr. Akar for half an hour on Friday, but the details of their phone conversation are unknown.
US Congressmen called upon President Trump to impose sanctions against Turkey, claiming that “there must be consequences.” They issued a statement Friday saying: ““We urge President Trump to fully implement sanctions as required by law under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act. Additionally, while all F-35 material deliveries remain indefinitely suspended, we call on the Department of Defense to proceed with the termination of Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program.”
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website