Hundreds of tourists arrived in Turkey from Moscow on Aug. 10, the first day of Russian flights into Turkish vacation hubs since the pause in operations due to COVID-19. Moscow had restarted flights to Istanbul and Ankara on Aug. 1.
The U.S. Air Force is officially purchasing eight F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter jets that were initially intended for Turkey prior to its removal from the joint strike fighter program. The U.S. removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program in July 2019 over Ankara's decision to buy Russian-made S-400 air defense systems.
Patriarch Kirill, the leader of Russia's Orthodox Church, said on July 6 that calls to convert Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque posed a threat to Christianity. "A threat against Hagia Sophia is a threat to all of Christian civilization, meaning [a threat to] our spirituality and history," Patriarch Kirill said in a statement.
Turkey's foreign trade deficit doubled between January and May as exports fell by 20 percent. The monthly trade deficit also doubled in May, surpassing $3 billion.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov has said that Turkey has the right to vie for a new agreement on an additional supply of S-400 missile defense systems and Russia will subsequently be ready to deliver. "They [Turkey] have the right to do so, if they express a desire, we will seal [the deal]," Borisov said.
United Nations investigators have revealed a short-lived secret mission in Libya that aimed to prevent shipments of Turkish-supplied weapons from reaching the government in Tripoli by sea. According to the U.N., the plan was to create a marine strike force using speedboats and attack helicopters that would board and search merchant ships.