U.S. condemns apparent Turkish test of Russian missile system
The Pentagon and State Department issued strong rebukes Friday following reports that Turkey’s military tested a Russia-made missile system, a move that could further stoke tensions between Washington and the NATO member, CNBC reports.
In recent days, Turkey said it was preparing to test the Russian-made S-400, a mobile surface-to-air missile system, that is believed to pose a risk to the NATO alliance as well as America’s most expensive weapons platform: Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter.
Ankara brokered a deal with Moscow in 2017 for the S-400, despite warnings from the United States and other NATO allies. Moscow delivered the first of four missile batteries in July 2019. A week later, the United States cut Turkey, a financial and manufacturing partner, from the F-35 program after Ankara accepted delivery of the Russian-made system.
Both the departments of Defense and State condemned Friday’s apparent missile test off Turkey’s Black Sea coast but would not confirm if the launch occurred.
“The United States has expressed to the Government of Turkey, at the most senior levels, that the acquisition of Russian military systems such as the S-400 is unacceptable,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus wrote in an emailed statement. “The United States has been clear on our expectation that the S-400 system should not be operationalized,” she added.
“We object to Turkey’s purchase of the system and are deeply concerned with reports that Turkey is bringing it into operation. It should not be activated. Doing so risks serious consequences for our security relationship,” echoed chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman in an emailed statement Friday.