– What is the S-400? –
According to its producer, the state-owned Almaz-Antey company, it has a range of 400 kilometres (250 miles) and can be deployed within just five minutes.
It consists of several vehicles: a command centre, various mobile radar stations and up to 12 launch vehicles that each carry four missiles.
– Who has bought it? –
China was the first country to buy the weapon from Russia, ordering several S-400s for an estimated $3 billion. Deliveries began in April 2018 and the first tests took place at the end of June 2019. Few other details of the missile deal were made public.
Around a dozen other countries — including Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia — have shown interest in the S-400, in some cases as a means of putting pressure on the US to lower prices on its weapons systems.
– Why is the West concerned? –
Washington has made clear it opposes Turkey purchasing the S-400. It gave Ankara until July 31 to give up the deal, threatening to remove Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet programme.
The US and NATO have said the S-400 is incompatible with equipment used by other members of the alliance.
Moscow has been able to use the S-400 as a political weapon: by selling the system to Turkey, it sows discord between Ankara and its NATO allies, whose ties are already strained.
Turkey receives first Russian missile delivery, risking US ire
Istanbul (AFP) July 12, 2019 – Turkey received the first batch of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system on Friday in a move expected to raise tensions with the United States, which has repeatedly warned against the purchase.
“The delivery of the first shipment of parts of the S-400 long range regional air missile defence system began as of July 12, 2019 to Murted air base in Ankara,” Turkey’s defence ministry said in a statement.
“It will be operational in a manner determined by relevant authorities once the system is entirely ready,” Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) said in a statement, adding that the delivery of the system’s other parts would continue “in the coming days”.
TASS also quoted a Russian military-diplomatic source as saying that another plane carrying S-400 parts will depart for Turkey “in the near future”, while a third delivery consisting of 120 guided missiles will be shipped by sea “most likely at the end of the summer”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday that “everything is happening in strict accordance with the agreements and signed contracts, all obligations are being carried out”.
– Potential US sanctions –
The US State Department has said Turkish officials are fully aware of the Countering America‘s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a law passed by Congress in 2017 that mandates sanctions for any “significant” purchases of weapons from Russia.
Washington has threatened to remove Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet programme, giving Ankara until July 31 to cancel the S-400 purchase or have its pilots kicked off the training course and expelled from the US.
Erdogan told Trump during their meeting on the margins of the G-20 meeting in Japan last month that former US president Barack Obama did not allow Ankara to buy Patriot missiles — an equivalent of the S-400s.
The first parts of the Russian missile system arrived on two planes at Ankara’s Murted air base, Turkish media reported. Turkey’s air force changed the name of the base from Akinci to Murted after it was at the centre of a 2016 failed coup.
“We say this each time. This is a done deal. The process continues. We are coordinating this work, whether permission for planes, personnel,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara on Friday.
“There are no problems, the process will continue in a healthy manner.”
The US and NATO have said that the S-400 is incompatible with equipment used by other members of the alliance.
“It is no secret that Erdogan is positioning Turkey to be a ‘Eurasian’ power, which means that Turkey ne to balance its relationship with China and Russia as much as it does with the United States and NATO,” he told AFP.
“Turkey is not guaranteed to be in the American camp forever.”
Turkey and Russia: closer ties after major rupture
Paris (AFP) July 12, 2019 –
Ankara and Moscow have forged closer cooperation after overcoming a major rupture in 2015 following the downing of a Russian fighter jet.
– ‘Stab in the back’ –
President Vladimir Putin slams a “stab in the back” and Moscow announces a raft of economic sanctions against Ankara, including in agriculture, tourism and construction.
– Turkish regret –
There is a thaw in late June 2016 when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expresses regret about the incident and calls for friendlier ties.
The Kremlin says he also apologised.
After their first telephone call since the incident, Putin announces an end to the tourism bans and the normalisation of trade ties.
The following month he is among the first international leaders to offer Erdogan support after a failed coup rocks his country.
– Gas pipeline go-ahead –
In August 2016, the two men meet in Saint Petersburg, Putin saying afterwards their countries had “lived through a very complicated moment” but wanted to overcome their “difficulties”.
Construction starts in March 2017.
– Together on Syria –
It sidelines the United States, with which both have strained ties.
Several rounds result in agreement on four “de-escalation” zones in Syria, leading to a decrease in violence in some areas.
– ‘Most important partner’ –
In March 2017, Putin and Erdogan announce the “normalisation” of ties. “We consider Turkey our most important partner,” Putin says.
At the end of May, Putin orders the lifting of most remaining sanctions on Turkey.
It raises concern with Ankara’s allies in the NATO military alliance.
– Nuclear plant accord –
The Akkuyu nuclear power plant is expected to be operational by 2023.
In September 2018, they agree to create a “demilitarised zone” around Syria’s Idlib region in a bid to avert a military assault on the last rebel and jihadist bastion in the country.
There is “absolutely no question” of stepping back from the S-400s purchase, he adds, after Washington had threatened sanctions if the deal went ahead.
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US renews warning to Turkey over Russian missile deal
Washington (AFP) July 9, 2019
The United States on Tuesday renewed its warning to Turkey that there will be consequences if it buys a Russian missile system, despite President Donald Trump‘s sympathy for the NATO ally’s case.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting Trump last month that he was confident Turkey would not face sanctions for buying the S-400, after the Pentagon formally told Ankara to cancel the purchase by July 31 or be dropped from the elite F-35 fighter jet program.
“Turkey will face real and negat