The Turkish military purportedly shot a missile into the sky near the country’s Black Sea coast, where there was an expected test of an S-400 air defense system purchased from Russia, footage from the area indicates, Reuters reported.
Days earlier, Turkey had issued notices restricting airspace and waters near the coastal area to enable firing tests.
Turkey’s defense ministry said it would neither deny nor confirm missile tests, according to the Reuters report.
Footage circulating on social media on October 6 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.
The reports corroborating the tests of the S-400 air defense system came following an exclusive report by Turkish Minute published on October 2 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.”
Tests of the S-400s, if verified, could stoke tensions between Turkey and the United States, which sharply opposed Ankara’s purchase of the weapons from Moscow on the grounds that they compromise shared NATO defense systems.
Activation could prompt CAATSA sanctions
Washington is wary about the S-400 system collecting data on its F-35 stealth fighter jets, and Turkey, a NATO ally, purchased the system in 2017 after moving closer to Russia since the first leader to call President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in support after a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 was Vladimir Putin.
US-Turkey tensions escalated after the acquisition, and Washington’s attempts to persuade Ankara to dispose of the system were in vain.
After Russia began shipping the S-400 system to Turkey in July 2019, the US removed Turkey from its list of F-35 program partners.
On July 17 the US House of Representatives passed the Countering Russia’s Export of Arms Act with bipartisan support, which would designate the acquisition of the S-400 by Turkey as “a significant transaction pursuant to Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),” Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger said at the time.
“Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall, pursuant to section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, impose five or more of the sanctions described in section 235 of such Act (22 USC 8 9529) with respect to the Government of Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 air and missile defense system from the Russian Federation,” the bill approved in the House of Representatives stipulates.
US President Donald Trump refrained from imposing harsh CAATSA sanctions on Turkey at the time, restricting the country’s reaction to eliminating Turkey from the F-35 list.