Turkey Freezes Purchase of Russian S-400 Missile System

(File photo)

Ankara is considering postponing the delivery of the controversial Russian S-400 missile system, after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s visit to the U.S. and his talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

According to Independent Balkan News Agency, Turkey informed the U.S. Department of State that instead of receiving the S-400 in nine months from now, it will do so in 19 months.

The official reason given by Ankara is that it wants its army personnel to have ample time to train on the missile system. If the missiles were delivered in nine months, they would have to be operated solely by Russians.

Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported that the U.S. officials explained to their Turkish colleagues that such a purchase would pose a serious threat to other NATO member countries.

Also, the purchase of the S-400 from Russia will affect Turkey’s  participation in the military and industrial cooperation programs with the U.S., the Department of State has warned.

The U.S. also halted the delivery of a batch of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey on the same grounds. The officials also said that if Turkey proceeds with the purchase of the Russian missiles, the U.S. might put into effect the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The two sides decided that a special working group will be put together in order to work on the issue in question and, according to the IBNA report, Ankara will receive its first F-35 within the coming days.

However, the delivery of the rest of the fighter jets will depend on developments with the S-400.