Turkey: Delivery of second S-400 missile defense system complete

A Russian military cargo plane unloads an S-400 missile defense system at the Murted military airbase, northwest of Ankara in this August 27, 2019 photo released by the Turkish Defense Ministry. (Turkish Defense Ministry/AFP)
Updated 15 September 2019

Turkey: Delivery of second S-400 missile defense system complete

  • Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems
  • US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was considering imposing sanctions related to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems

ANKARA: Turkey’s defense ministry said on Sunday that the delivery of a second battery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems has been completed as of Sunday, and added that the systems would become active in April 2020.
Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems, which the United States says are not compatible with NATO defenses and poses a threat to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 ‘stealth’ fighter jets.
The initial parts of the system were delivered to Ankara in July despite warnings about possible US sanctions over the purchase. The United States has also expelled Turkey from the F-35 program, but Ankara has so far dismissed the warnings.
In a statement, the defense ministry said the delivery of the second S-400 battery to Ankara was completed. Efforts to mount the systems and train personnel who will use them were continuing, it said, adding that it planned to activate the S-400s in April 2020.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusglu told an interview with CNN Turk on Saturday that the S-400s would be activated despite repeated US warnings.
“They (US officials) told us ‘don’t activate them and we can sort this out’, but we told them that we didn’t buy these systems as a prop,” Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey would be open to buying US Raytheon Co. Patriot systems as well.
In an interview on Friday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters he will discuss buying US Patriot missiles with US President Donald Trump this month, saying his personal bond with the US leader could overcome the crisis caused by the S-400s.
Though Washington has not yet announced whether it will impose sanction on Ankara, US President Donald Trump has shown sympathy toward Turkey. He has not fully ruled out sanctions.
On Monday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was considering imposing sanctions related to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems, but no decisions have been made.
The dispute over the S-400 systems is one of several issues straining ties between the United States and Turkey that include the ongoing conflict in Syria, among others.


Eastern Libya forces say 16 Turkish soldiers killed in fighting

Updated 23 February 2020

Eastern Libya forces say 16 Turkish soldiers killed in fighting

BENGHAZI: Forces loyal to Libyan eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar said on Sunday they had killed 16 Turkish soldiers in recent weeks, a day after Turkey acknowledged it had lost several "martyrs" in combat in the north African country.
Khalid al-Mahjoub, a spokesman for Haftar's Libya National Army (LNA), said the Turks were killed in the port city of Misrata, in battles in Tripoli and in the town of al-Falah south of the capital.
Turkey backs Libya's weak internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and has sent Syrian soldiers along with some of its own soldiers and weapons.
Haftar's forces are backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday acknowleged some Turkish losses in Libya's "struggle".
"We are there (in Libya) with our (Turkish) soldiers and our teams from the Syrian National Army. We continue the struggle there. We have several martyrs. In return, however, we neutralized nearly a hundred (of Haftar's) legionaries," Erdogan said.
The Syrian National Army, also known as Free Syrian Army, is a Turkey-backed Syrian rebel group fighting against pro-Damascus forces in northern Syria, where 16 Turkish soldiers have been killed so far this month.
The deployment of Turkish soldiers and sophisticated air defences has erased small gains made by the LNA with the help of Russian mercenaries, returning the frontline roughly to where it was at start of Haftar's campaign in April 2019.
Ceasefire talks between Libya's warring sides resumed on Thursday after the GNA had pulled out of negotiations following the shelling of Tripoli's port by Haftar's forces.