Russia delivers more S-400 air defense equipment to Turkey

A Russian military cargo plane unloads S-400 missile defense system equipment at Murted military air base in Ankara on July 12, 2019. (Turkish Defense Ministry/AFP)
Updated 13 July 2019

Russia delivers more S-400 air defense equipment to Turkey

  • A fourth Russian cargo plane landed at the Murted air base near the Turkish capital Ankara
  • Washington has tried for months to prevent the deal, arguing that the Russian S-400 air defense system is incompatible with NATO systems

ISTANBUL: Russia flew a fresh shipment of advanced air defense equipment to Turkey on Saturday, the Turkish Defense Ministry said, continuing to implement a deal that is likely to trigger US sanctions against a NATO ally.
The ministry said a fourth Russian cargo plane landed at the Murted air base near the Turkish capital Ankara, a day after three huge Russian air force AN-124 planes offloaded equipment at the base.
Washington has tried for months to prevent the deal, arguing that the Russian S-400 air defense system is incompatible with NATO systems. It also says that if the S-400s are deployed near US F-35 jets, which Turkey is buying and helping to produce, they would undermine the stealth fighter planes’ defenses.
US officials had warned that Turkey would be thrown off the F-35 program if it took delivery of the S-400s, and would also face sanctions under US legislation seeking to prevent countries from buying military equipment from Russia.
Turkey says S-400 is a strategic defense requirement, above all to secure its southern borders with Syria and Iraq. It says that when it made the deal with Russia for the S-400s, the United States and Europe had not presented a viable alternative.
The dispute between the countries with the two largest armies in NATO marks a deep division in the Western military alliance, which was forged after World War Two to counter Moscow’s military power.
Reaction from Washington was limited on Friday, with acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper saying the US stance had not changed. Esper later spoke with Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar.
“Minister Akar told his US counterpart that Turkey remains under a serious air and missile threat and that purchase of S-400 defense systems was not an option but rather a necessity,” a Turkish Defense Ministry statement said.
Investors in Turkey have been unsettled by the deal and the prospect of sanctions, a year after a dispute with Washington over the trial of a US pastor in Turkey contributed to a financial crisis which drove Turkey’s economy into recession.
Russia’s TASS news agency quoted an unnamed military-diplomatic source on Friday as saying that a further delivery – of 120 guided missiles – would be carried out by ship at the end of the summer.


Security conference told of ‘Iranian menace’ to shipping in the Gulf

Updated 22 October 2019

Security conference told of ‘Iranian menace’ to shipping in the Gulf

  • “Aviation and maritime security are at the top of the policy agenda in the region,” says Bahraini FM
  • Pompeo warned of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program

MANAMA: Delegates from more than 60 countries including Saudi Arabia met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security after attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations, widely blamed on Iran.

“Aviation and maritime security are at the top of the policy agenda in the region,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa told the conference. “We must take a collective stand ... to take the necessary steps to protect our nations from rogue states.”

In a message to delegates, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program.

“This meeting comes at a critical moment in history,” he said. “The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, whether by air or sea, poses a serious threat to international peace and security.

“Together, we must all be committed to taking the necessary actions to stop countries that continue to pursue WMD at great risk to all of us.”

Countries taking part in the conference, including Israel, belong to the Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group, created in February during a Middle East conference in Warsaw.

“The meeting is an occasion to exchange views on how to deal with the Iranian menace and to guarantee freedom of navigation,” Bahrain’s foreign ministry said.

After the tanker attacks, the US formed a naval coalition to protect navigation. Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, joined in August, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE followed in September. The UK and Australia are the other main Western partners.