BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – Turkey activated its Russian-supplied S-400 air defense system, despite objections from fellow NATO member, the United States, Head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Ismail Demir said on Friday, as reported by the TASS News Agency.
“The process of deploying S-400s continues and certain systems have been put into operation,” TASS reported, quoting the newspaper Milliyet.
Russia won’t have ‘the desired access’ to the S-400 systems deployed in Turkey, Demir said.
“Although the agreement on the deliveries includes provisions on the training [of the Turkish personnel], technical maintenance and technical support, the Russian personnel will not be able to get the desired access to S-400 batteries,” Turkey’s defense industry chief said.
Prior to its recent activation, Turkey received received a stern warning from its NATO allies about using this Russian-made air defense system.
The U.S. has gone as far as threatening to boot Turkey from the F-35 program over its acquisition of this Russian-made air defense system.
Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Morgan Ortagus said on April 21 that Washington “is deeply concerned” with reports that Turkey was continuing its efforts to make the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems operational.
Russia announced in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 billion deal with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ankara. Under the contract, Ankara will get a regiment set of S-400 air defense missile systems (two battalions). The deal also envisages partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side.
Turkey is the first NATO member state to purchase such air defense missile systems from Russia. The deliveries of S-400 launchers to Turkey began on July 12, 2019.