The first shipment of the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system has landed in Ankara, in a move that sets up a potential showdown between Turkey and the United States.
The deal is the first of its kind between a NATO member and Russia, and risks a showdown with the United States.
The ministry said in a statement Friday that “the first group of equipment” of the advanced air defence systems had been delivered to the Murted air base outside the capital, Ankara.
“The delivery of parts belonging to the system will continue in the coming days,” Turkey’s defence industry directorate said separately. “Once the system is completely ready, it will begin to be used in a way determined by the relevant authorities.”
The US has however 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 $2billion.
“Pending an unequivocal Turkish decision to forgo delivery of the S-400, deliveries and activities associated with the stand-up of Turkey’s F-35 operational capability have been suspended while our dialogue on this important matter continues with Turkey,” the US has said in April.
In February, Vice President Mike Pence said that the U.S. “will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had however said after meeting President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit last month that Washington did not plan to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the S-400s.