A Russian plane carrying S-400 components landed at Murted Airport outside Ankara on Monday. The purchase created a rift between Turkey and US which argues the Russian system is not compatible with NATO equipment.

Russian plane carrying components for S-400 missile defence system lands at Murted Air Base in Ankara. July 14, 2019.
Russian plane carrying components for S-400 missile defence system lands at Murted Air Base in Ankara. July 14, 2019. (AA)

The ninth Russian plane carrying S-400 missile system hardware landed at Murted Airport outside Ankara, Turkey's defence ministry said on Twitter.

Turkey began receiving the S-400 components from Russia three days ago, with the first plane arriving in Ankara.

"The first batch of equipment of S-400 missile defence system, which is procured to meet Turkey's air and missile defence need, has started to arrive at Murted air base in Ankara as of July 12, 2019," the ministry said on Friday. 

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah reports from outside Murted Air Base in Ankara.

Turkey-US row

Following unsuccessful efforts to purchase an air defence system from the US, Ankara signed a contract in April 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s. 

Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads for months over Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian technology.

The US says the S-400s are incompatible with NATO’s defence network and could compromise its F-35 fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping build and planning to buy.

Ankara, a NATO member, however, emphasised the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance. 

It also urged the formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the US has not responded to this proposal. 

To show it is serious, Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the F-35 programme. It has halted training of Turkish pilots in the US on the aircraft and refused to accept any others.

However, Turkey’s head of Defence Industries Directorate Ismail Demir said the US cannot unilaterally remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet programme. The partnership agreement does not allow it, Demir said on June 21.

“No single country can say they don’t want you and then remove you from the programme," he told reporters.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah has more from Ankara.

Sanctions

After meeting US President Donald Trump in Japan in June, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would be spared damaging US sanctions over the S-400s.

Trump appeared sympathetic to Erdogan at the talks and reluctant to publicly commit to sanctions — despite being repeatedly asked by reporters.

But US government officials said otherwise.

“The United States has consistently and clearly stated that Turkey will face very real and negative consequences if it proceeds with its S-400 acquisition, including suspension of procurement and industrial participation in the F-35 programme and exposure to sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),” a State Department spokeswoman said.

Demir said such sanctions could have a brief impact on Turkey’s defence industry. “Our defence industry produces parts for the F-35, so in the event of sanctions being imposed, our industry would experience a rough patch, but we’ll then get passed this,” he said.

Acting US Defence Secretary Esper said he is aware of Turkey taking delivery of S-400, US position regarding the F-35 has not changed. He also added that he will have a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar on late Friday.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies