October 17, 2020
FILE – A new S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system is shown after its stationing at a military base near Kaliningrad, Russia, March 11, 2019.
By VOA News
The United States has condemned Turkey for testing a highly advanced Russian air defense system on Friday, disregarding U.S. warnings.
A Haber television, which is close to Turkish government, reported that the Turkish army conducted the test firing of the S-400 system in the northern province of Sinop by the Black Sea.
The U.S. State Department said the missile launch is “incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner” of the U.S.
A Defense Department spokesperson said “We have been clear: an operational S-400 system is not consistent with Turkey’s commitments as a U.S. and NATO ally. We object to Turkey’s purchase of the system and are deeply concerned with reports that Turkey is bringing it into operation.”
The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Jim Risch, called the test “unacceptable behavior” from a NATO ally.
Risch said in a statement that the move damages NATO and represents a direct threat to the U.S. F-35 bombers and other U.S. and NATO allies’ systems.
“U.S. law requires sanctions against countries that continue to deepen their defense relationship with Russia, and the administration should send a strong signal that Turkey must divest its S-400s,” the statement said.
Sen. Bob Menendez, the committee’s senior Democrat, said in a statement that “Turkey must be sanctioned immediately for its purchase and use of this system.”
Menendez did not spare the Trump administration of criticism, saying “President Trump’s failure to follow the law and his affinity for [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose a serious threat to our national security and that of our NATO allies and partners in Europe.”
The Turkish Defense Ministry has refused to confirm or deny the test firing.
Turkey signed the S-400 deal with Russia in 2017, with the first deliveries of missile batteries, worth $2.5 billion, coming in July of last year.