First shipment of Russian S-400 defence systems arrive in Turkey

The order of S-400 reportedly cost Turkey $2bn

The order of S-400 reportedly cost Turkey $2bn

The Turkish Defence Ministry reported on Friday that the first batch of Russian S-400 missile defence system components was effectively delivered to Turkey.

The purchase created a rift between Turkey and United States which argues the Russian systems are not compatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation equipment and may compromise its F-35 jets.

The S-400 consignment was delivered to the Murted Air Base outside the capital Ankara, Turkey's defense ministry said earlier Friday, in a statement which triggered a weakening in the Turkish lira to 5.7 against the dollar from 5.6775 on Wednesday.

President Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting President Donald Trump at the G20 summit last month that the US did not plan to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the S-400s.

Although expressed sympathy toward Turkey's decision to purchase the Russian system during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a meeting in Japan, Washington has repeatedly said that the Russian system is incompatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation systems and is a threat to the F-35.

Russia's Rostec State Corporation Sergei Chemezov said in December 2017 that the deal was worth $2.5 bln.

The move will anger the U.S., which has warned that Turkey can not have both the S-400 anti-aircraft defence system and US F-35 fighter jets.

On the other hand, even though Trump said Turkey had not been treated fairly, but he did not rule out sanctions.

However, US defence officials have said they do not want the F-35 jets to be near S-400 systems - because they fear Russian technicians will be able to access the F-35's vulnerabilities.

Al Jazeera's Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said: "As far as we have been told, the systems will be operational by October 2019".

Investors in Turkey have been concerned about the impact of potential USA sanctions on an economy which fell into recession after a currency crisis past year.

Ankara has refused to bow to United States pressure, insisting that choosing which defence equipment to purchase is a matter of national sovereignty. "There's no problem and the process will continue in a healthy way going forward". But Turkey says the offer does not meet its requirements, including possible future joint production.

Turkey maintains that it has fulfilled all of its financial obligations concerning the F-35 program and can not be excluded from the project.

The Murted base, northwest of Ankara, was formerly known as Akinci Air Base. Last month, the Pentagon revealed plans to phase out Turkey's participation in the F-35 program altogether by July 31.

TRT World's Francis Collings has more on why S-400 is the world's best air defence system.

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