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Turkey’s NATO Status Will Be ‘Unaffected’ by Acquisition of Russian S-400 Missile System


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The first shipment of a Russian missile defense system has arrived in Turkey, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Friday, moving the country closer to possible U.S. sanctions and a new standoff with Washington.

A statement from Turkey’s Defense Ministry said that the first delivery of equipment for the S-400 air defense systems has reached the Murted Air Base near the capital, Ankara. A total of three planes carrying the equipment landed at the airfield on Friday, adding that the delivery would continue in the coming days, according to Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

According to TASS news agency, tensions between Turkey and its NATO partners only emerged after Ankara purchased Russian S-400 missile systems, and therefore it does not affect Ankara’s relations with NATO, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Thailand on Tuesday.

“Turkey is in top five in contributions to NATO,” Cavusoglu told TASS. “We have no issue with NATO, when you look at the statements of the secretary general… with regard to S-400s and other issues, it is not a problem to NATO.”

Cavusoglu also reiterated that any controversy with Washington was “more of a bilateral issue between Turkey and the United States.”

When Turkey has taken delivery of the initial shipment of a Russian S-400 Triumph air defence system, it defied very vocal warnings from the US, who then threatened to impose sanctions under CAATSA, and also punish Turkey by cutting it off from participating in its manufacturing and service role in the joint F35 project – a move which will cost the US at least half a billion dollars.

The Turkish minister made the statement in Thailand during a ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is taking place.

Later, Turkish officials also met his Russian FM Sergey Lavrov to discuss discuss bilateral relations and a range of international issues.

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