Turkey’s purchase of Russian missiles contravenes US ‘policy’: spokesperson

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AFP PHOTO / Mandel Ngan

The US Department of State has once again warned Turkey against the purchase of a Russian S-400 anti-ballistic missile defense system, saying such an action would be against US “policy,” the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

“It goes against our policy to have a NATO ally such as Turkey use an S-400 system. Part of the problem with that, it is — that it is not interoperable with other NATO systems. And so we are against the — having some of our partners and allies around the world potentially purchase S-400s,” US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said during a press briefing on Thursday.

Nauert was asked if Turkey’s move would trigger sanctions pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

“I am not going to get into that. But we have made very clear what could trigger sanctions for other countries and entities around the world,” she said.

The State Department comments came after Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport announced that the S-400 air defense system would be delivered to Turkey in 2019.

“S-400 to Turkey. The contract is implemented within the agreed time limits. In 2019 we will start implementing the contract,” Alexander Mikheev, the CEO of the Rosoboronexport was quoted as saying by the Russian Interfax agency on Aug 21.

Turkey and Russia have sealed an agreement on the procurement of the S-400 missiles, with Ankara making a down payment on the $2.5 billion deal. Turkish officials said earlier the systems would be deployed in July 2019.

Ankara’s decision to purchase a sophisticated Russian system has long been an issue between Turkey and its allies, particularly the United States. Military experts are concerned that the deployment of S-400s would put the security of allied weapons systems, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and radar facilities at risk.

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