Alwaght- Turkey has received the first delivery of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system despite US threat of sanctions, the country’s defense ministry said on Friday.
"The delivery of the first shipment of parts of the S-400 long-range regional air missile defense system began as of July 12, to Murted airbase in Ankara," the ministry said in a statement.
Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation confirmed that it had started delivering the systems to Turkey and that the shipments would continue as per an agreed schedule.
Turkish broadcasters showed footage of a Russian Air Force AN-124 cargo plane at the Murted airbase. According to Turkey's Defense Industry Directorate, the delivery of parts belonging to the system will continue in the coming days.
"Once the system is completely ready, it will begin to be used in a way determined by the relevant authorities," it said.
The development is set to escalate tensions with the United States which has warned of sanctions over the deal.
Washington says the S-400s could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and planning to buy.
The US has threatened to expel Turkey from the F-35 program under sanctions. Washington has already halted training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.
Turkey has repeatedly rebuffed calls from the US to scrap the deal, saying it is free to choose the countries it buys weapons from.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will seek compensation if it is omitted from the F-35 program. He has said excluding Turkey from the F-35 program would be “robbery” since Ankara has already invested money in it.
Moscow and Ankara finalized the agreement on the delivery of the S-400 in December 2017 even as US officials warned that the move would damage Turkey's ability to work with NATO.
Similarly, Washington has been attempting to dissuade India from purchasing S-400s. New Delhi reached a deal to buy the missile systems from Moscow in October.
Indian officials are now seeking a waiver from the US that will allow the nation to buy the weapons without the risk of violating American sanctions on Moscow.
The medium-range and long-range S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system was developed as an upgraded version of the S-300.
The all-weather weapon can shoot down aircraft at a distance of up to 250 km and intercept ballistic missiles up to 60 km away.