The first shipment of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system has arrived in Turkey, the Turkish Defence Ministry said Friday.
The purchase created a rift between Turkey and U.S. which argues the Russian systems are not compatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation equipment and may compromise its F-35 jets.
The first components of the system were delivered to the air base in Murted near Turkish capital Ankara on Friday, the defense ministry said in a statement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to believe that, whatever the Pentagon may say, Donald Trump himself is less hostile to the purchase of the Russian missiles.
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.More news: OPEC forecasts oil demand to grow in 2020
Turkey has urged formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the United States has failed to respond to this proposal.
"Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 air and missile defense system remains incompatible with the F-35 program. It's a political statement that the USA doesn't have a hegemony and control over North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members and particularly over Turkey", Ashraf said.
A launch vehicle for the Russian S-400 missile defence system.
USA officials have since encouraged Turkey to buy the Patriot missile defense system instead of the S-400s. But Turkey says the offer does not meet its requirements, including possible future joint production.
The 2017 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) mandates USA sanctions against anyone making a "significant" deal with the Russian defense industry.More news: 'Misogynistic douchebag' goes on rant in a Bagel Boss, gets tackled
These range from banning visas and denying access to the USA -based Export-Import Bank, to the harsher options of blocking transactions with the US financial system and denying export licences.
Under possible US sanctions, Turkey could face expulsion from the F-35 program, a move Erdogan has dismissed. Last year, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkey over its detention of an American pastor, triggering a Turkish currency crisis. Washington has already halted training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.
Turkey maintains that it has fulfilled all of its financial obligations concerning the F-35 program and can not be excluded from the project.
Turkey's dollar bonds dropped to three-week lows on the news of the delivery, while the cost of insuring exposure to Turkish sovereign debt also rose.
The detention of USA consular staff in Turkey has also strained relations, along with disagreements over Iran, Venezuela and Middle East policy. It was used by putschist soldiers in the attempted coup of July 2016.More news: The Management Of Moon Program Was Shaken Up By NASA