For Third Day, Russia Delivers Missile System Parts to Turkey
(Source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty; published July 14, 2019)
The first batch of S-400 missile defense system hardware landed at Murted Air Base in Ankara, Turkey on July 12, followed by seven different aircraft which delivered additional S-400 parts over the week-end. (TK MoD photo)
Russia has sent new components of its S-400 air-defense system to a military air base near the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Turkey's Defense Ministry tweeted on July 14 about the landing of a fifth and sixth Russian cargo planes at Murted air base, saying two more planes were expected within hours.

Turkey received the first three shipments of S-400 components on July 12 and a fourth shipment on July 13, defying threats of sanctions from the United States.

Washington and its allies consider the missile system to be incompatible with NATO systems and a threat to the F-35 fighter jets.

Washington has urged Turkey to purchase the U.S.-made Patriot missile system instead.

The United States has given Turkey a deadline of July 31 to reverse or face the loss of subcontracting work on the U.S.-led F-35 project.

But Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the F-35 program, halting training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.

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Minister Akar Had A Phone Call with US Acting Secretary of Defense Esper
(Source: Turkey Ministry of National Defence; issued July 12, 2019)
National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar had a phone call with US Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

Turkey's procurement of long-range regional air and missile defence systems as well as security issues concerning Syria were discussed during the phone call.

Minister Akar told his US counterpart that Turkey remains under a serious air and missile threat and that purchase of S-400 defence systems was not an option but rather a necessity and Turkey was still assessing the bid to acquire US patriot air defence systems.

Emphasizing that Turkey is a partner of the F-35 fighter aircraft programme and that programme should continue uninterrupted, Akar said that Turkey's proposal was still on the table for setting up a joint working group - that could include NATO - to assess the possible interaction of F-35 aircraft and S-400 systems.

Turkey has fulfilled all its obligations under the F-35 programme and it remains committed to its position, Akar said.

Minister Akar stressed that Turkey’s purchase of S-400 does not in any way mean change of its strategic orientation and reiterated that deterioration of bilateral relations would serve the interests of neither Turkey nor the US nor NATO.


Akar emphasized that the only military force that is ready, competent and appropriate for the establishment of the safe zone in northern Syria was the Turkish Armed Forces. He reiterated that for Turkey, protection of its borders and people was the priority and in the face of intensive attacks from the Syrian border Turkey would have to take necessary measures and would not allow terror groups seeking safe haven right across its borders.

Minister Akar and Acting Secretary Esper agreed during the phone call that the communication lines should be maintained a US military team should urgently be dispatched to Ankara next week to further the discussions on the safe zone in Syria.

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Eighth Plane Carrying S-400 Components Arrives in Turkey
(Source: TASS; published July 14, 2019)
ANKARA --- The eighth Russian aircraft with another batch of components for S-400 missile systems has arrived in Ankara, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense repored on Monday.

"The deliveries of S-400 air defense systems continue. The eighth plane has landed at Murted Air Base [in the Ankara province]," the ministry said in a statement.

Deliveries of Russia’s S-400 missile systems to Turkey began on July 12. According to the Turkish Ministry of National Defense, on that day three cargo planes delivered several truck tractors and a transport and load vehicle for S-400 systems to Murted Air Base. Another Russian plane arrived next day. On Sunday, Turkey confirmed the arrival of the seventh plane.

On July 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the S-400 deal with Russia as a major agreement in Turkey’s modern history. He noted that the supplies of Russia’s air defense systems could be completed by April 2020.

S-400 deal

The first reports about the talks between Russia and Turkey on the deliveries of S-400 air defense missile systems emerged in November 2016. Russia confirmed in September 2017 that the relevant contract had been signed. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar earlier said that the deployment of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems could begin in October 2019.

CEO of Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov said in December 2017 that the S-400 deal was worth $2.5 bln.

The S-400 ‘Triumf’ is the most advanced long-range air defense missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.

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Senators Respond to Turkey Accepting Russian Air Defense System
(Source: US Senator James Lankford; issued July 12, 2019)
WASHINGTON, DC --- Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) issued the following joint statement after reports today that a shipment of parts for the Russian S-400 air defense system had arrived in Turkey.

The group of Senators led a bipartisan effort earlier this year that prohibits the transfer of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey. The Senate included this provision in the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last month.

“We are disappointed to learn that Turkish President Erdogan has not agreed to meaningful efforts to provide his military with NATO-operable alternatives to the Russian S-400 air defense,” said the Senators. “Now they have solidified their stance with the acquisition of the Russian S-400, a surface-to-air defense system created to target and destroy the American F-35.

“Turkey is trying to play both sides, but we will not allow sensitive US military technology in the F-35 to be at risk. Turkey cannot have both Russian and American defense equipment sitting side by side. As long as President Erdogan insists on putting US and NATO assets at risk by acquiring Russian defense technology, the US will withhold our fifth-generation fighter jets and apply our normal restrictions on any government that purchases Russian military equipment.”

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Russian S-400 Hardware Deployment Continues - Turkish Defence Ministry
(Source: TRT World; posted July 13, 2019)
The fourth Russian plane carrying S-400 parts landed at Murted Airport outside Ankara, the ministry said. The purchase created a rift between Turkey and US which argues the Russian system is not compatible with NATO equipment.

Delivery of S-400 missile systems is continuing, Turkish National Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

Delivery of S-400 Long Range Air and Missile Defense Systems resumed today. The fourth Russian plane carrying S-400 parts landed at Murted Airport outside Ankara, the ministry said on Twitter.

On Friday, Ankara received the first batch of S-400s.

"The first batch of equipment of S-400 missile defence system, which is procured to meet Turkey's air and missile defence need, has started to arrive at Murted air base in Ankara as of July 12, 2019," the ministry said.


Report by Turkish state broadcaster TRT World.


Following unsuccessful efforts to purchase an air defence system from the US, Ankara signed a contract in April 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.

Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads for months over Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian technology.

The US says the S-400s are incompatible with NATO’s defence network and could compromise its F-35 fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping build and planning to buy.

Ankara, a NATO member, however, emphasised the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

It also urged the formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the US has not responded to this proposal.

To show it is serious, Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the F-35 programme. It has halted training of Turkish pilots in the US on the aircraft and refused to accept any others.

However, Turkey’s head of Defence Industries Directorate Ismail Demir said the US cannot unilaterally remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet programme. The partnership agreement does not allow it, Demir said on June 21.

“No single country can say they don’t want you and then remove you from the programme," he told reporters.

Sanctions

After meeting US President Donald Trump in Japan in June, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would be spared damaging US sanctions over the S-400s.

Trump appeared sympathetic to Erdogan at the talks and reluctant to publicly commit to sanctions — despite being repeatedly asked by reporters.

But US government officials said otherwise.

“The United States has consistently and clearly stated that Turkey will face very real and negative consequences if it proceeds with its S-400 acquisition, including suspension of procurement and industrial participation in the F-35 programme and exposure to sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),” a State Department spokeswoman said.

Demir said such sanctions could have a brief impact on Turkey’s defence industry. “Our defence industry produces parts for the F-35, so in the event of sanctions being imposed, our industry would experience a rough patch, but we’ll then get passed this,” he said.

Acting US Defense Secretary Esper said he is aware of Turkey taking delivery of S-400, US position regarding the F-35 has not changed. He also added that he will have a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar on late Friday.

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