Turkey continues deploying Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and has activated their certain elements, Head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Ismail Demir said on Friday.
"The process of deploying S-400s continues and certain systems have been put into operation," the newspaper Milliyet quoted him as saying.
Russia won’t have ‘the desired access’ to the S-400 systems deployed in Turkey, Demir said.
"Although the agreement on the deliveries includes provisions on the training [of the Turkish personnel], technical maintenance and technical support, the Russian personnel will not be able to get the desired access to S-400 batteries," Turkey’s defense industry chief said, TASS reports.
Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on April 30 that the process of deploying S-400 air defense missile systems in the country was being delayed over the coronavirus pandemic. He said, however, that "this process will be continued in accordance with the plans."
Spokesperson for the US Department of State Morgan Ortagus said on April 21 that Washington "is deeply concerned" with reports that Turkey was continuing its efforts to make the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems operational.
Russia announced in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 billion deal with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ankara. Under the contract, Ankara will get a regiment set of S-400 air defense missile systems (two battalions). The deal also envisages partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side.
Turkey is the first NATO member state to purchase such air defense missile systems from Russia. The deliveries of S-400 launchers to Turkey began on July 12, 2019.
The United States and NATO have been making attempts to prevent Turkey from purchasing Russia's S-400 missile systems. Washington has warned on many occasions that it may impose sanctions on Turkey, if Ankara presses ahead with the S-400 deal. On July 17, 2019, the press secretary of the US White House said in a written statement that Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian-made S-400 air defense systems rendered Ankara’s further participation in the US program of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bomber impossible.
The S-400 ‘Triumf’ is the most advanced long-range air defense missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range weapons, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.