Russian S-400 defence systems arrive in Turkey
Ankara, Jul 12 (AP) The first shipment of a Russian missile defence system has arrived in Turkey, the Turkish Defence Ministry said Friday, moving the country closer to possible US sanctions and a new standoff with Washington.
A Defence Ministry statement said "the first group of equipment" of the S-400 air defence systems has reached an air base near the capital, Ankara.
The U.S. has strongly urged NATO member Turkey to pull back from the deal — reportedly costing more than USD 2 billion — warning the country that it will face economic sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if it goes ahead with the purchase.
It has also said Turkey won't be allowed to participate in the program to produce high-tech F-35 fighter jets.
The US has repeatedly said that the Russian system is incompatible with NATO systems and is a threat to the F-35.
Sanctions would mark a new low in the already-tense relations between Turkey and the U.S. Last year, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey over its detention of an American pastor, triggering a Turkish currency crisis.
The deal with Russia — the first such deal between Russia and a NATO member — has also raised concerns that Turkey is drifting closer to Moscow's sphere of influence.
Turkey has refused to bow to US pressure, insisting that choosing which defence equipment to purchase is a matter of national sovereignty.