Erdogan confirms tests of Russian-made S-400 missile systems, says Turkey not concerned objections of its American NATO allies
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed that Turkey has carried out tests of S-400 air defense systems it bought from Russia last year, adding that Washington's negative attitude towards the drills doesn't matter to Ankara.
Reports that the Turkish military has successfully tested the state-of-the-art Russian systems emerged last week, drawing a strong backlash from its American friends. The State Department said such behavior was “incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner of the US.”
The tests “have been and are being conducted,” Erdogan told reporters on Friday, officially confirming the S-400 drills.
The US stance absolutely does not concern us. If we are not going to test these capabilities at our disposal, then what are we going to do?
Turkey is “determined” to keep testing its large, medium, and heavy military equipment, no matter which country originally produced it, Erdoğan pointed out.
“It seems that the gentlemen [in Washington] are especially bothered that this is a weapon belonging to Russia,” he added.Also on rt.com Amid spat with US over Moscow deal, defense minister insists Turkey won't integrate Russian-made S-400 systems into NATO networks
The US, which insists the use of Russian S-400s by Turkey will compromise NATO’s defenses, has threatened the country with sanctions and “serious consequences” to bilateral security ties if they're put in service. The $2.5 billion deal with Moscow to purchase the systems has already cost Ankara its participation in America’s F-35 fighter jet program.
Moscow blasted Washington’s pressure on Turkey to give up on S-400s as unfair competition in the arms market. Ankara believes the Russian hardware is essential to assuring its national security. The Turkish military received the first S-400s from Russia last year and plans to make them fully operational by the end of 2020.Also on rt.com VIDEO shows Turkey test-firing Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system for FIRST TIME – Reuters
On Thursday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar gave assurances that S-400s won’t be integrated into NATO’s command-and-control infrastructure, but will rather be “used as a standalone system.”
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