Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the fact that the Turkish military tested Russian S-400 air defense systems, and also said that Ankara did not intend to ask Washington for permission.
tests have been carried out
in Sinop (a city in the north of Turkey -
And we are not going to ask permission from the United States, whether we can carry them out or not, ”RIA Novosti quoted Erdogan as saying.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan also added that Ankara is determined and intends to move on in the intended direction.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
© Murad Sezer
“Tests of the S-400 complexes continue.
Ankara is not going to take into account the US position on this issue, ”Turkish Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan as saying.
Earlier, Turkish media reported that the S-400 "Triumph" air defense system purchased from Russia was transferred to Sinop for trial firing from October 5 to 16.
Ten unmanned targets were also involved in the exercise, according to Milliyet.
As the Turkish defense publication SavunmaSanayiST clarified, this is a Meggitt BTT-3 Banshee UAV.
These UK-developed drones are used to test air defense systems and other military equipment such as surface-to-air missiles, MANPADS, etc.
During the exercises, the radar capabilities of the S-400, the ability to detect and track targets and other technical capabilities of the complexes were investigated, the publication specified.
According to the head of the Turkish Defense Ministry, Hulusi Akar, so far only Russia has been able to satisfy Turkey's needs for this type of equipment.
At the same time, as noted by the Bloomberg agency, the minister "brushed aside" the criticism of Turkey from the NATO allies and indirectly confirmed that the test launch of the S-400 really took place.
"Any defense procurement program includes testing and system checks," Bloomberg quoted the minister as saying.
Hulusi Akar also explained that the S-400 systems will not be integrated into the NATO command infrastructure, but rather "will be used independently, similar to how NATO members use the Russian S-300 systems."
© Alexey Malgavko
Information about Turkey's testing of Russian S-400 air defense systems angered Washington.
So, the exercise was condemned by the US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison.
“We, along with all our NATO allies, have done everything possible for Turkey to refuse to purchase missile defense systems from Russia, which we consider an enemy.
Buying missile defense systems from Russia and placing them on the territory of NATO countries is simply unacceptable, there is no doubt about that, ”she said.
Earlier, the head of the press service of the US State Department, Morgan Ortegus, promised that the American side would "most strongly" condemn the exercises with the participation of the S-400 in Turkey, if information about them is confirmed.
In an interview with TASS, Ortegus said that if Turkey puts Russian air defense systems into service, it will face serious security consequences.
The Pentagon also commented on the exercise.
According to the US Department of Defense spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, the agency is "deeply concerned" that Turkey is putting the S-400 into operation.
He also said that the Pentagon is aware of the possible tests by Turkey of the S-400.
“If true, the ministry strongly condemns the tests.
We were very clear: the commissioned S-400 system does not meet the obligations of Turkey as a US ally and NATO member, ”he said.
Washington's underlined indignation over the S-400 tests in Turkey looks illogical, experts say.
“It is not clear why the test launches caused such a reaction, because the most important step was the purchase of the complexes by Ankara, and not the tests.
But now, when Turkey has confirmed the information about the tests, Washington will certainly make a number of duty statements.
Nobody intends to retreat, "military expert Alexei Leonkov said in a commentary on RT.
At the same time, the analyst admitted that in the future the United States could raise the issue of Turkey's exclusion from the North Atlantic Alliance.
© Saul Loeb
“The American side has already hinted that Turkey should be excluded from NATO.
This could be a serious lever of pressure on Erdogan.
True, the NATO countries have not yet used the other levers that they had in their hands.
For example, the United States and Germany supply components for weapons manufactured by the Turkish military-industrial complex.
But NATO did not use these levers, ”the expert explained.
As Yuri Mavashev, director of the Center for the Study of a New Turkey, noted in an interview with RT, Turkey does not need approval from the United States in order to purchase and use any weapons.
“The irony is that the rupture of relations between Turkey and NATO will harm the US more than the Turkish side.
Only 28 NATO bases are officially located on Turkish territory, not to mention the nuclear weapons at Incirlik.
In addition, without Turkish participation, it is impossible to resolve a number of key international problems, including disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, ”the expert explained.
Recall that Ankara and Moscow signed a contract for the supply of the first batch of S-400 air defense systems to Turkey in the amount of $ 2.5 billion in 2017.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Turkish authorities paid 45% of the total amount in advance, the rest of the funds were provided by the Russian side in the form of a loan.
Russia fulfilled its obligations to supply components of the air defense missile system by the fall of 2019.
In August 2020, Turkey and Russia signed a contract for the supply of the second batch of S-400 air defense systems.
This was announced by the head of Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev.
The S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile system was developed on the basis of the S-300 RSZ in the early 2000s (NPO) Almaz named after academician A.A.
Raspletin, now the enterprise is part of the Almaz-Antey concern.
The Russian army accepted the S-400 into service in 2007.
© Umit Bektas
The S-400 air defense system is a new generation long and medium range missile system.
The system is capable of striking all means of aerospace attack, up to tactical and strategic aircraft and ballistic missiles.
A unique feature of the S-400 air defense missile system is the ability to selectively use more than four types of missiles with different launch weights and ranges.
Ankara's interest in the Russian air defense system caused serious discontent between Washington and NATO.
Over the past years, the US authorities have actively lent their old ones to the Turkish side, demanding to abandon the deal with Russia.
The United States even excluded Turkey from the F-35 Lightning II fifth generation fighter program.
The contradictions between Ankara and Washington in December 2019 reached such intensity that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to close the American military access to the Incirlik and Kurecik bases located on Turkish territory.
According to experts, the Turkish leader is not trying to smooth things over in relations with Washington and the NATO leadership.
“The Turkish president is playing the card of a strong leader who cannot back down.
He oppresses his line, demonstrates a tough position, with which one must agree or reject, ”says Alexey Leonkov.
According to the expert, Erdogan is deliberately bullish, not stopping before exacerbating relations with the West.
“The question is whether NATO will accept his decision.
For example, France, Germany and Greece can vote for Turkey's exclusion from NATO, if the USA decides to initiate such a process, ”the expert added.
According to Yuri Mavashev, much now depends on the outcome of the US presidential elections, which will be held on November 3.
As the expert explained, it would be more profitable for Turkey to win Donald Trump, since Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are even more harsh towards Ankara.
At the same time, the contradictions flaring up between the United States and Turkey undermine the cohesion of the North Atlantic Alliance, the expert is sure.
“How the story with the S-400 air defense system will affect the future of NATO is the biggest intrigue.
It is obvious that discipline within the military bloc is lame, it is, by and large, no longer there.
And Turkey's actions only increase this instability, as well as the US reaction to these steps, ”Yuri Mavashev concluded.