Pentagon chief to speak with Turkish counterpart, position on F-35 unchanged
- Author: Leroy Wright Jul 14, 2019,
Jul 14, 2019, 17:00
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara that "there is no problem in the deliveries", adding that "the process will also continue in a healthy pace in the future". "Evaluations on the proposal of Patriot defense system are still going on", Akar was quoted by Anadolu Agency as saying.
"President Erdogan was given a very clear choice".
"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. The Turkish Defense Ministry issued a readout saying that "Turkey's procurement of long-range regional air and missile defense systems, as well as security issues concerning Syria, were discussed during the phone call".
The controversial order and the delivery of the S-400 is likely to exacerbate tensions with the United States.
The US fears that if Ankara integrates the S-400 into its defenses there is a risk that sensitive data about its F-35 could leak back to the Russians and it has threatened to expel Turkey from its fighter jet program. It fell by as much as 1.8% on the news but that's not extraordinary for the Turkish currency, which weakened more just earlier in the week. Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish.
"By accepting delivery of the S-400 from Russia, President Erdogan has chosen a perilous partnership with Putin at the expense of Turkey's security, economic prosperity and the integrity of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance", the top members of the Senate committees on Foreign Relations and Armed Services said in a joint statement.
The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members with the largest armies are in dispute over weapons from Russian Federation.
The lira's reaction on the first day of delivery has been somewhat muted. In an attempt to dissuade Turkey, the US said in June it was winding down Turkey's participation in the F-35 program. Turkish companies produce 937 of the plane's parts.
The detention of USA consular staff in Turkey has also strained relations, along with disagreements over Iran, Venezuela and Middle East policy. Since the S-400 systems are not with Nato-compatible, see the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air defense systems at risk.
Market reaction on Friday supports the argument that investors in Turkish assets have already priced in some of the risks associated with the arrival of the missiles, which the USA says were designed by Russian Federation to shoot down planes like the F-35. He previously served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. It says that when it made the deal with Russian Federation for the S-400s, the United States and Europe had not presented a viable alternative.
In spite of the promise Donald Trump gave during his meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan on not imposing sanctions on Turkey, Ankara was once again reminded by officials in Washington of possible "consequences" following the said meeting.
Political analysts believe this will lead to a major row between Washington and one of NATO's main allies. Turkey is a main ally of the United States with an important geographical and strategic position. A dozen other countries have expressed interest, including Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Each system of S-400 includes a command and control centre, a 3D phased array acquisition radar, optional tracking radar and firing units with associated multi-mode engagement radar.
In trying to persuade Turkey to give up the Russian missiles, the United States offered to sell its Raytheon Co.
How does the system work? The acquisition radar cannot only detect and track up to 300 targets within a distance of 600km, but can also engage 36 targets at one point. Set targets and send commands to command vehicle to launch rockets.