Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

In this file photo taken on May 7, 2017, the Russian S-400 air defense missile systems drive during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system. (AP)
Updated 29 December 2017

Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

ANKARA: Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system, Turkish defense officials announced Friday, despite concerns voiced by some of the NATO member’s allies.
The deal, which would make Turkey the first member of the military alliance to own Russia’s most advanced air defense system, comes amid strengthening ties between Turkey and Russia and Ankara’s deteriorating relations with the United States and other western countries.
The Turkish Defense Industries Undersecretariat said in a statement Friday that Turkey would buy at least one S-400 surface-to-air missile battery with the option of procuring a second battery. The delivery of the first battery was scheduled for the first quarter of 2020, the statement said.
The two countries on Friday also finalized a financial agreement for the project, under which part of the cost would be financed through a Russian loan, the Defense Industries body said, without revealing details of the deal.
Turkish media reported Friday that Turkey would purchase four S-400 units at a cost of $2.5 billion. Sergei Chemezov, head of Russia’s state-controlled Rostech corporation, also told the business daily Kommersant in an interview published Wednesday that the contract was worth $2.5 billion and that a Russian loan would account for 55 percent of the sum.
Chemezov said Turkey would buy four batteries and that the first deliveries would start in March 2020, according to Kommersant.
“It’s the first NATO country to purchase our most advanced S-400 system,” he said.
The reason for the discrepancy over the number of batteries Russia would supply Turkey was not immediately clear. The Defense Industries body would not disclose the cost of the project or other details, citing “principles of secrecy” agreed to by the two countries.
The S-400 has a range of up to 400 kilometers and can simultaneously engage multiple targets. It’s capable of shooting down ballistic missile warheads along with aircraft and cruise missiles.
Russia deployed the S-400s to its base in Syria to deter Turkey when the two nations were on the verge of conflict after a Turkish jet downed a Russian bomber on the Syrian border in November 2015.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in September that Turkey had signed a deal to buy the Russian system and made a down payment, drawing concerns from some of Turkey’s NATO allies.
Some NATO countries have expressed worries that the S-400 system is not compatible with the alliance’s weapons systems.
The Defense Industries agency said the Russian system would be operated under the full control of the Turkish military and “in an independent manner, without any links to any outside elements.”
“The system’s operation, management, and systems recognizing friends and foes will be undertaken through national means,” the Defense Industries body said.


Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

Updated 25 August 2019

Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

  • A woman in her 50s accused Ramadan of raping her along with a member of his staff
  • He has been charged in France with raping two women previously

PARIS: Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar charged in France with raping two women, has also been accused of taking part in the gang rape of a journalist, French judicial sources said Sunday.
The sources confirmed reports on Europe 1 radio and in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that a woman in her 50s had accused Ramadan, 56, of raping her along with a member of his staff when she went to interview the academic at a hotel in Lyon in May 2014.
The woman, who filed a criminal complaint in May 2019, also accused Ramadan of issuing “threats or acts of intimidation” aimed at dissuading her from reporting the alleged attack to the police, the judicial sources added.
Ramadan, a married father of four whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, was a professor at Oxford University until he was forced to take leave when rape allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement in late 2017.
He has denied charges he raped a disabled woman in 2009 and a feminist activist in 2012.
He was taken into custody in February 2018 and held for nine months before being granted bail.
Authorities in Switzerland are also investigating him after receiving a rape complaint in that country.
His lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, refused to comment Sunday on the latest allegations against him in France.
The woman behind the latest complaint told police that Ramadan and a male assistant repeatedly raped her in Ramadan’s room at the Sofitel hotel in Lyon.
She described the alleged attack as being of “untold violence” and claimed that when she threatened to report them to the police Ramadan replied: “You don’t know how powerful I am.”
She also claimed that Ramadan had contacted her via the Messenger app in January, two months after his release from jail, saying that he wanted to make her an “offer” of a “professional nature,” without giving details.