Turkey confirms testing S-400 missile systems, says they won’t be integrated into NATO infrastructure
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has confirmed that Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems were tested last week, as he also dismissed NATO allies' concerns on the issue. Akar also said that the S-400 won’t be integrated into NATO’s command-and-control infrastructure, but rather "used as a standalone system similar to the use of Russian-made S-300 weapons that exist within NATO."
Reuters claims video shows missile fired where Turkey cleared way for S-400 test, prompting US warning
A missile was fired into the sky on Oct. 16 on Turkey's Black Sea coast where the military was expected to test its Russian-made S-400 defense systems, according to local video obtained by Reuters. "If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO Ally and strategic partner of the United States," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Turkey on Oct. 6 sent its S-400 missile defense systems to the Black Sea province of Sinop for testing. Footage on social media showed the systems being transported. Sources told Bloomberg that the country is planning to conduct a comprehensive test of the S-400 systems next week.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Oct. 5 that the alliance is "concerned" about the consequences of the Turkish acquisition of the S-400 system, adding that the system can pose a risk to ally aircraft and can lead to U.S. sanctions.
Turkey is trying to procure European-made air defense systems and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to drop his opposition to co-production of Eurosam SAMP/T air missile systems, Elysee sources told Bloomberg. Macron reportedly told Erdoğan that Turkey must clarify its objectives in northern Syria before the request could be considered.
Talks on second S-400 shipment to Turkey in progress, but no contract yet, Russian army official says
Russia and Turkey are in an advanced stage of discussion on the delivery of the second S-400 batch, but the agreement has not yet been signed, Dmitry Shugaev, head of Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation, said on Aug. 23. Earlier, the general director of Rosoboronexport, the Russian agency dealing with the import and export of defense-related products and services, stated that Moscow and Ankara had signed a contract.
Several members of Congress have been quietly blocking multiple U.S. arms sales to Turkey as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has still yet to impose mandatory sanctions on the country over its purchase of a Russian-made missile defense system, CNN cited several congressional aides as saying.
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.
Four U.S. senators have penned a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper saying that Turkey's expulsion from the F-35 supply chain needs to be expedited, regardless of what the cost is. They said that the Defense Department's delay regarding the matter “has undermined the effectiveness of our clear message to the Turks.”
Russia says Turkey cannot re-export S-400 air defense systems after US senator’s proposal to buy them
Russia has said that Turkey cannot re-export Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems without Moscow's permission. The statement came after U.S. Senator John Thune prepared a proposal to buy the S-400s from Turkey in a bid to overcome the impasse between Washington and Ankara over Turkey’s participation in a program to produce F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter jets.
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.
The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on June 11 authorized the U.S. Air Force to modify six F-35s fighter jets that were sold to Turkey but will be used for the U.S. military. The jets were never delivered to Turkish soil because of a disagreement over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system, which the Pentagon said was “incompatible” with the stealthy F-35 jets.
The head of the Russian Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugayev, said that Moscow is awaiting Ankara's final decision on the delivery of the second batch of Russia's S-400 missile defense systems. "Dialogue on the deliveries of the second regimental batch of the S-400 are on quite an advanced stage, and we await the final decision of the Turkish side," he said.
Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that Ankara is loyal to its agreement with Russia on the S-400 missile defense systems, adding that there were delays because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "We're loyal to our agreement on S-400s just like we were previously," Kalın said in an interview on May 26, adding that Turkey is open to negotiations with the United States if it agrees to send Patriot missiles.
Turkey and Russia are still negotiating the terms for delivery of a second consignment of S-400 advanced missile defenses, the head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said. “The sale of a new batch of S-400s to Turkey is still on our agenda; it did not fall of our agenda. We are trying to agree on the system's scope, the delivery date and other conditions,” Dmitry Shugaev was quoted as saying by Sputnik on May 7.