BY DAILY SABAH WITH AA
The S-400 missile defense system acquired from Russia is ready for action and will be utilized if Türkiye is threatened, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday.
Speaking to Parliament’s planning and budget committee in the capital Ankara, Akar said “the S-400 is in place and ready for use.”
“If any threats arise, we will decide where and how to use it,” Akar added.
Answering questions regarding the S-400 long-range defense system, he said: “We do not have a problem with the S-400.”
Referring to Türkiye’s request for long-range regional air defense systems from the U.S., he said “without these, the S-400 procurement took place.”
Türkiye and Russia signed a first accord in December 2017 on deliveries of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries, reportedly worth around $2.5 billion. Türkiye received the first deliveries in July 2019.
The U.S. response to the purchase was to unilaterally expel its NATO ally Türkiye from the F-35 fighter jet development program, where it was a major manufacturer and buyer.
Türkiye has called the move unjust and demanded reimbursement for its $1.4 billion payment.
Washington argues that the S-400s could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the F-35 jets and that they are incompatible with NATO systems.
Türkiye, however, insists that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Washington later also sanctioned Turkish defense industry officials, including İsmail Demir, head of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), while U.S. senators have from time to time said the country may face more sanctions if it continues to purchase the Russian system.
Ankara says it acquired the system after the U.S. refused to sell it Patriots in the first place.