First S-400 Missile System Parts Land in Turkey, Russia Confirms

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to reporters in Istanbul on Monday

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to reporters in Istanbul on Monday

The delivery of the Russian-made S-400 missile systems to Turkey has begun, Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Russian Federation began the delivery of an advanced missile defence system to Turkey it has been reported, a move likely to trigger USA sanctions against a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and drive a wedge into the heart of the military alliance.

Turkey has said it was forced to buy the S-400s because Washington refused to supply the American-made Patriot systems to Ankara.

The components arrived at the Murted military airfield outside Ankara on Friday, the nation's Ministry of National Defense said in a short statement.

Reacting to the latest developments, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation voiced its concerns over the acquisition of S-400 systems by Ankara.

Turkey has repeatedly rebuffed calls from the United States to scrap the deal, saying it is free to choose the countries it buys weapons from. It has also said Turkey won't be allowed to participate in the program to produce the high-tech F-35 fighter jets. Trump said Turkey had not been treated fairly but did not rule out sanctions. But Turkey says the offer does not meet its requirements, including possible future joint production.

US officials have since encouraged Turkey to buy the Patriot missile defense system instead of the S-400s.

Investors in Turkey have been concerned about the impact of potential USA sanctions on an economy which fell into recession after a currency crisis a year ago.

The 2017 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) mandates US sanctions against anyone making a "significant" deal with the Russian defense industry.

These range from banning visas and denying access to the US-based Export-Import Bank, to the harsher options of blocking transactions with the USA financial system and denying export licences. Washington has already halted training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.

Turkey could also face expulsion from the F-35 programme under the sanctions. Last month, the Pentagon revealed plans to phase out Turkey's participation in the F-35 program altogether by July 31.

The detention of US consular staff in Turkey has also strained relations, along with disagreements over Iran, Venezuela and Middle East policy.

The Turkish air force changed the name of the base in Ankara from Akinci to Murted after it was the centre of a 2016 failed coup attempt.

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