The US is “deeply concerned” over reports on the deployment of the S-400 air defense system by Turkey to the Black Sea coast for possible tests, Sputniknews reported on Wednesday, citing the US State Department.
“We are aware of these reports. We continue to object strenuously to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system and are deeply concerned with reports that Turkey is continuing its efforts to bring the S-400 into operation. Our suspension of Turkey from the F-35 program, in response to the S-400 acquisition, signaled the seriousness with which the administration approaches this issue,” Sputnik quoted a State Department spokesperson as saying.
Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 air defense system from Moscow “remains a major obstacle in the bilateral [Turkish-US] relationship and at NATO, as well as a risk for potential CAATSA [Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act] sanctions,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
According to the report, the spokesperson expressed hope that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and those in his orbit will “understand” Washington’s position on the issue.
Turkey is planning to conduct a comprehensive test of the air defense units without activating the system, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.
Footage circulating on social media on Tuesday showed military equipment, reportedly S-400 components, on the move, and a NOTAM filed by Turkey to alert pilots of potential hazards said the Sinop airport was closed to take-offs and landings on Tuesday between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. local time.
The reports of the S-400 air defense system deployed to Sinop came following an exclusive report by Turkish Minute published on Friday that cited a piece of official correspondence.
The document seen by Turkish Minute included details of a test to be conducted at the Sinop Missile Range that aimed “to ensure the engagement capability of the S-400 weapons system, the detection and tracking capability of the system’s radars, the communications system capabilities, and the control of the firing and command control capabilities.”
There has been no official comment on the reports of deployment.
Turkish President Erdoğan on Monday received NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who earlier had said that the S-400 air defense system posed a risk to Allied aircraft.