ANKARA, (BM) – Turkey’s plans to activate the S-400 missile defense systems it acquired from Russia last year are still being implemented, despite a long delay in their activation, Turkish President’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told France 24, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
The missile systems, which were supposed to be activated in April, caused a split between Turkey and its Western allies, which say that Russian technology can lead to tricks against NATO’s advanced weapons, the channel recalls.
Kalin reiterated that Turkey would willingly work with countries to alleviate any security concerns that they “might have about the S-400 being compatible or not compatible with NATO’s defense system.”
But Kalin said Turkey’s plans to activate the S-400 have not changed.
“Because of the COVID-19 virus, everything was postponed, but in principle, we adhere to our agreement for the S-400, as before,” he emphasized.
We add that the Turkish government did not explain why the coronavirus pandemic caused a delay in the activation of S-400. Some observers say Turkey may refrain from activating missiles as it tries to forge relations with the US that have been tainted by disagreements, including the purchase of Russian systems.
The United States suspended Turkey from participating in the F-35 fighter program and suspended its orders for new-generation jet aircraft after it received its first batch of S-400 in July 2019.
The U.S. Congress also compiled a list of sanctions against Turkey in connection with the purchase under the CAATSA Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in 2017, although Senate leader Mitch McConnell has so far abstained from raising the issue in the upper house.
In addition, David Satterfield, the US ambassador to Turkey, said on April 30 that the Turkish government would risk both CAATSA sanctions and “additional autonomous legislative sanctions” if it activates the S-400.
Turkish officials say the S-400 will be activated as planned, but Kalin echoed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s earlier remarks that Turkey could also buy American Patriot missile systems.
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