The US officials and NATO officials on July 12 spoke about Russian aircraft carrying S-400 air defense systems to Turkey.
“As the President (Donald Trump) said at the G20 Summit before the meeting (Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip) Erdogan. It is certainly a problem” – US officials confirmed but did not comment.
A NATO official also told CNN on July 12 that they were concerned about the potential consequences after Turkey decided to buy Russia’s S-400. “The interoperability of NATO armed forces is the foundation for this military alliance to carry out its activities and duties” – NATO officials said.
According to the Turkish Ministry of Defense, the first group of S-400 equipment was transported by Russian aircraft to Murted air base on July 12.
Another aircraft is scheduled to ship the second S-400 equipment group to Turkey in the near future, according to TASS. The third shipment will include “120 types of air defense missiles, shipping by the end of summer”.
TASS also cited sources to reveal that Turkish S-400 operators will go to Russia to attend training courses in July and August. About 20 Turkish military personnel went through training in a Russian center in May and June, according to sources.
On July 12, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced he would call his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar to discuss the S-400 handover. CNN said it is likely that the US will ban Turkey from participating in the F-35 fighter program.
During a visit to NATO headquarters in Belgium late last month, the Esper announced: “If Turkey receives the S-400, they will not have an F-35. Very simple.”
In addition, the United States is expected to consider punishing Turkey for the move under the US Competitor Punishment Act (CAATSA) aimed at countries buying military equipment from companies black list. If this happens, sanctions can seriously hurt Turkey’s economy.