Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Lira drops after Ankara takes delivery of Russian missile system

Lira drops after Ankara takes delivery of Russian missile system

The S-400 consignment was delivered to the Murted Air Base outside the capital Ankara, the ministry said in a statement which triggered a weakening in the Turkish lira to 5.712 against the dollar from 5.683 before the announcement.

Turkey began to receive the S-400 air-defense missile-defense system on Friday despite USA warnings not to do so. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said three planes carrying the equipment landed at the airfield on Friday, adding that the delivery would continue in the coming days. "Russian influence is here to stay in the new Turkey". It was then switched to 1:45, then postponed indefinitely. "Our position regarding the F-35 has not changed, and I will speak with my Turkish counterpart Minister Akar this afternoon", Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters Friday.

The U.S. and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have expressed alarm for several years over the purchase of the S-400, with concerns that plugging the Russian system into the alliance could lead to data leaks and security breaches, including concerns it would allow Russians to gain information about the stealthy F-35 fighter.

Trump said Turkey had not been treated fairly but did not rule out sanctions, and US officials said last week the administration still plans to act.

The S-400 Triumph, which became operational in 2007, is created to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range ones. It has also said Turkey will not be allowed to participate in the programme to produce hi-tech F-35 fighter jets.

Similarly, Diliman Abdulkader, director of external relations at Allegiance Strategies, LLC, and a Middle East analyst, told JNS that the Trump administration should levy sanctions on Turkey.

The U.S. has already stopped training Turkish pilots on the F-35, and given Ankara until the end of July to get its personnel out of the U.S.

While the administration has yet to respond, Congressional leaders were vocal Friday.

Turkey maintains that it has fulfilled all of its financial obligations concerning the F-35 program and can not be excluded from the project.

While the S-400 is widely recognized as one of the most advanced missile systems in the world, its practical use is in question, given its incompatible with the rest of Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military systems.

Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation confirmed it had started delivering the S-400 to Turkey and that the deliveries would continue as per an agreed schedule, the RIA news agency reported.

Jim Townsend, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe now with the Center for a New American Security, noted that there are often political disagreements inside the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance. "They should think deeply, because losing a country like Turkey will not be easy", Erdogan said, referring to officials in Washington. "It is up to Allies to decide what military equipment they buy", the official said. "How do you deal with that?"

Reaction from Washington, which has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey, was limited, with acting Defence Secretary Mark Esper saying the US position has not changed.

"Delivery is starting. It hasn't ended yet".

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