Turkey receives first shipment of Russian S-400 missile defense system

The purchase is creating tension between Turkey and US. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 July 2019

Turkey receives first shipment of Russian S-400 missile defense system

  • Consignment was delivered to Murted Air Base outside capital Ankara
  • Washington says the S-400s could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets

ISTANBUL: The first parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system were delivered to NATO member Turkey on Friday, the Turkish defense ministry said, a development set to escalate tensions with the United States which has warned of sanctions over the deal.

Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation confirmed it had started delivering the S-400 to Turkey and that the deliveries would continue as per an agreed schedule, the RIA news agency reported.

Turkey’s purchase of the Russian defense systems, which Washington says are not compatible with NATO’s defense network, is one of a series of issues which have put the allies at odds.

The S-400 consignment was delivered to the Murted Air Base outside the capital Ankara, the ministry said in a statement which triggered a weakening in the Turkish lira to 5.712 against the dollar from 5.683 before the announcement.

“The delivery of parts belonging to the system will continue in the coming days,” Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate said separately. “Once the system is completely ready, it will begin to be used in a way determined by the relevant authorities.”

A Russian Air Force AN-124 cargo plane had flown to Turkey early on Friday morning and was last tracked approaching Ankara, data from Flightradar24 website showed. Turkish broadcasters showed footage of the plane at the Murted Air Base.

President Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting President Donald Trump at a G20 summit last month that the United States did not plan to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the S-400s. Trump said Turkey had not been treated fairly but did not rule out sanctions.

Washington says the S-400s could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and planning to buy.

Turkey could face expulsion from the F-35 program under the sanctions. Erdogan has dismissed that possibility, but Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the program, halting training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.

Investors in Turkey have been concerned about the impact of potential US sanctions on an economy which fell into recession after a currency crisis last year.

Ankara and Washington are also involved in disputes over strategy in Syria east of the Euphrates River, where the United States is allied with Kurdish forces that Turkey views as foes.

The Murted base, northwest of Ankara, was formerly known as Akinci Air Base. It was used by putschist soldiers in the attempted coup of July 2016.


Egypt to reduce subsidised staple food prices

Updated 16 November 2019

Egypt to reduce subsidised staple food prices

  • Nearly one in three Egyptians lives below the poverty line, according to official figures released in July
  • The supply ministry spokesman said the measures aimed to make goods available "in suitable quantities and prices"

CAIRO: Egypt is to reduce the prices of subsidised food staples from next month, the supply ministry spokesman said Saturday, as the country's economy shows signs of recovery.
"Prices of cooking oil, sugar, rice and flour will be reduced starting the first of December," said spokesman Ahmed Kamal.
He said the measures aimed to make goods available "in suitable quantities and prices".
Last month, the government reinstated 1.8 million Egyptians to a food subsidy programme as instructed by President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi.
Also in October, fuel prices were cut by 25 piastres (0.015 US cents) a litre following several rounds of price hikes under a tough austerity programme that triggered popular discontent.
The measures came after rare and small-scale protests in September calling for El-Sisi's removal after an exiled Egyptian businessman accused the president and top military brass of corruption.
Harsh austerity measures introduced by El-Sisi's government since he took office in 2014 have hit poor and middle-class Egyptians.
Nearly one in three Egyptians lives below the poverty line, according to official figures released in July.
The tough reforms including subsidy cuts and a devaluation of the local currency were tied to a three-year $12-billion bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund secured in 2016.
The IMF loan was disbursed in full earlier this year, in a boost for the economy.
Egypt's economy was sent into a downward spiral by the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and has also been hit by extremist attacks that damaged its vital tourism sector.
But the official statistics agency said inflation fell to its lowest level in nearly a decade last month, easing to 2.4 percent compared with 17.5 percent a year earlier.