The first shipment of a Russian missile defence system has arrived in Turkey, the country’s defence ministry says, a development that could move the country closer to US sanctions. The ministry said the first delivery of the S-400 air defence systems arrived on Friday at an air base near the capital, Ankara.
The delivery of parts of the system will continue in the coming days and authorities will decide “how it will be used” once the system is made operational, Turkey’s defence industry authority said in a statement.
The United States has warned Turkey it will face economic sanctions if it goes ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defence system.
It has also said Turkey will not be allowed to take part in the programme to produce the high-tech F-35 fighter jets. Sanctions would mark a new low in the already-tense relations between Turkey and the US.
Last year, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey over its detention of an American pastor, triggering a Turkish currency crisis.
The deal with Russia, the first such deal between Russia and a Nato member, has also raised concerns that Turkey is drifting closer to Moscow’s sphere of influence.
Turkey has refused to bow to US pressure, insisting that choosing which equipment to purchase is a matter of national sovereignty.