Turkey signs deal to buy Russian S-400 missile systems: Erdogan

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2017

Turkey signs deal to buy Russian S-400 missile systems: Erdogan

ISTANBUL: Turkey has signed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 missile defense systems in its first major weapons purchase from Moscow, Turkish newspapers Tuesday quoted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying.
The accord for the surface-to-air missile defense batteries is Ankara’s most significant pact with a non-NATO supplier.
“Signatures have been made for the purchase of S-400s from Russia. A deposit has also been paid as far as I know,” Erdogan said in comments published in the Hurriyet daily and other newspapers.
“(Russian President Vladimir Putin) and myself are determined on this issue,” he told journalists.
The purchase of the missile systems from a non-NATO supplier will raise concerns in the West over their compatibility with the alliance’s equipment.
The Pentagon has already sounded alarm, saying bluntly that “generally it’s a good idea” for NATO allies to buy inter-operable equipment.
Erdogan said Turkey was free to make military acquisitions based on its defense needs.
“We make the decisions about our own independence ourselves, we are obliged to take safety and security measures in order to defend our country,” he said.
Moscow also confirmed the accord, with Vladimir Kozhin, Putin’s adviser for military and technical cooperation, saying: “The contract has been signed and is being prepared for implementation.”
He said that the S-400 was one of the most complex systems, made up of a whole range of technical materials.
“I can only guarantee that all decisions taken on this contract strictly comply with our strategic interests,” he was quoted as saying by Russian state-owned TASS news agency.
“For this reason we fully understand the reactions of several Western countries which are trying to put pressure on Turkey,” he added.
Russia’s relations with NATO have been in crisis over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and for backing pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, has currently troubled ties with the United States over a number of issues including Washington’s support of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) Syrian Kurd militia which Ankara considers a terror group.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 16 September 2019

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.