Turkey to Switch On Russian Missile Systems in Less Than a Year
(Bloomberg) -- Russia has completed delivery of another advanced S-400 air-defense system to Turkey, which it plans to make operational by next April despite the threat of U.S. sanctions.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that the installation of the batteries continues after the latest shipment. The first S-400 arrived in July in the face of U.S. objections.
The time remaining before Turkey activates the systems could be the last window of opportunity for the NATO allies to defuse the standoff. After the delivery of the first battery, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urged Turkey not to make the S-400s “operational” as President Donald Trump holds off on implementing new sanctions required by law.
In response to the purchase from Russia, the U.S. suspended Turkey’s ability to buy and help build the advanced F-35 warplane. American officials contend the Russian air-defense system is designed to shoot down North Atlantic Treaty Organization aircraft and can collect critical intelligence that could compromise stealth capabilities of the fifth-generation fighter.
Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said that the U.S. is considering sanctions on Turkey, without elaborating.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Reuters this week that his personal bond with Trump could help overcome the crisis. Erdogan plans to address the issues surrounding S-400s and the F-35 program directly with Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this month.
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