First shipment of Russian S-400 missile defence system hardware to Ankara started today, Turkey’s National Defence Ministry said.
“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 on Twitter.
“The delivery of parts belonging to the system will continue in the coming days,” Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate said separately. “Once the system is completely ready, it will begin to be used in a way determined by the relevant authorities.”
President Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting President Donald Trump at a G20 summit last month that the United States did not plan to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the S-400s. Trump said Turkey had not been treated fairly but did not rule out sanctions.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defence system from the US with no success, Ankara signed the supply contract in April 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.
US officials urged Turkey to buy US Patriot missiles, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge. Claims Turkey has refuted.