S-400 deployment to resume as Erdogan meets Putin in Moscow

Erdogan-Putin to discuss Idlib

Turkey has announced the beginning of the deployment of the second battery of the S-400 air defense systems from Russia on the same day President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Aug. 27 over the recent developments in the Idlib province of Syria.

“Activities with regard to the shipment of the second battery (of the S-400s) will start tomorrow,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told journalists in the eastern province of Erzincan on Aug 26.

The first batch of the S-400s was delivered in July at Mürted Air Base near Ankara in accordance with the Ankara-Moscow deal on the sale of the anti-ballistic missile systems in April 2017. The shipment of the second batch of the air defense systems is scheduled to be accomplished in several weeks, and the S-400s will be ready to use by April 2020.

“Our objective is to provide protection to our country and our nation against missile threats from outside of our country,” Akar said.

Turkey has stood firm against the pressure imposed by the United States to cancel the S-400 deal with Russia at the expense of ruining its ties with its NATO ally. After earlier attempts to purchase Patriot air defense systems from the U.S. were unfruitful, Turkey’s urgent security concerns stemming from Syria obligated Turkish government officials to strike a deal with the Russians. The U.S. has said it has discontinued Turkish participation in the F-35 aircraft program and said it won’t deliver four aircrafts Turkey has already paid for.

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