Turkey to test controversial Russian-made S-400 missile system
Istanbul (dpa) – Turkey is to test its controversial Russian-made S-400 missile defence system in Ankara Province, broadcaster CNN Turk reported on Monday, citing sources in the Turkish Defence Ministry.
The radar connection between Murted air base, where the missile system is based, and an F-16 fighter jet is to be tested on Monday and Tuesday, the broadcaster said.
There was no official confirmation of the testing from Ankara, though the province’s local authority confirmed that low-flying test flights of F-16s would be carried out.
Turkey obtained the S-400 system from Russia this summer. The purchase strained relations between Turkey and the United States, a NATO partner, which was worried that Russia would use the system’s radar to obtain information on the capabilities of the American F-35 fighter jet.
“We cannot answer any questions on matters of intelligence, nor will we speculate on Turkey’s reason to partner in this instance with Russia instead of the US and NATO,” a NATO spokesperson said.
“But Turkey’s insistence on moving forward with the S-400 is inconsistent with its commitments to NATO and will have impacts on Turkish interoperability with the alliance.”
Ankara was a partner in the F-35’s construction and had agreed to buy a number of the planes from the US. But the US excluded Turkey from the F-35 programme after Turkey made the S-400 deal with Russia.
After meeting US President Donald Trump in Washington in mid-November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said again that he did not want to drop the S-400 system in favour of the US-made Patriot system, but that he did want to acquire Patriot in addition to the Russian system.
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