The first shipment of a Russian S-400 air defense system has arrived in Turkey, according to a statement from the Turkish Defense Ministry on Friday, in a development that is likely to prompt action from the US.
The ministry said in its statement that “the first group of equipment” of the advanced air defense system had been delivered to the Murted airbase outside the capital of Ankara.
“The delivery of parts belonging to the system will continue in the coming days,” Turkey’s defense industry directorate said separately.
“Once the system is completely ready, it will begin to be used in a way determined by the relevant authorities.”
Turkey’s decision to purchase the equipment solidifies ties that have been developing between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and is the latest setback to US-Turkish relations, which have seen the two NATO allies at odds over issues such as Syria.
The US has long warned that Turkey risked being blocked from receiving the advanced F-35 stealth jet due to Ankara’s insistence on acquiring the Russian missiles — a system US officials fear could be used to analyze and collect intelligence on the F-35.