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Turkey to receive second batch of S-400 missiles this week

Turkey to receive second batch of S-400 missiles this week

Turkey will receive the second batch of the Russian S-400 missile system on Tuesday, its defence minister Hulusi Akar has said.

Ankara received its first supply of S-400 missiles in July, despite warning by the United States about possible sanctions. Acquisition of the highly advanced air defence system has led to a standoff between the Turkey and its NATO allies, especially the US.

Deliveries of the system are set to continue until April 2020.

The modular S-400 is seen as one of the most advanced missile systems in the world, capable of tracking several targets simultaneously and ready to be fired within minutes.

The US has repeatedly said that the Russian system is incompatible with NATO systems and is a threat to the hi-tech F-35 fighter jets, which Turkey is also planning to buy.

Washington has said Turkey will not be allowed to participate in the F-35 programme because of the Turkish-Russian deal.

The US has strongly urged Turkey to pull back from the deal – the first such move between a NATO member and Russia – warning Ankara that it will face economic sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if it goes ahead with the purchase, reportedly costing more than $2bn.

So far, however, Ankara has refused to give in to US pressure, insisting that choosing which defence equipment to buy is a matter of national sovereignty.
Sanctions would mark a new low in the already tense relations between Turkey and the US.
Last year, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey over detention of an American pastor, triggering a Turkish currency crisis. The sanctions were later lifted upon the pastor’s release.

The deal with Russia has also raised concerns in Western circles that Turkey is drifting closer to Moscow’s sphere of influence.

According to analysts, these purchases form more than just a military threat to the US.

They are about countering Russia’s involvement in global conflicts, but also about maintaining long-standing US diplomatic relations and preventing Russia receiving hard currency for its equipment, the analysts told Al Jazeera last year.

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