The US State Department has warned the Turkish government of “potential serious consequences” to the two nations’ security relationship should reports of Ankara testing the Russian S-400 air defense systems prove true.
“If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner of the United States,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Friday.
Ortagus insisted that the air defense system “should not be operationalized,” adding, “We have also been clear on the potential serious consequences for our security relationship if Turkey activates the system.”
Washington’s reaction comes after a Reuters report showed “a narrow column of smoke headed high into the blue sky” near the city of Sinop in northern Turkey. According to the outlet’s defense analyst Turan Oguz, the smoke pattern suggested it was a missile launch of the Russian-made S-400.
The Turkish defense ministry said it would neither confirm nor deny any missile tests. Ankara has previously said it intended to make the S-400s it had purchased from Moscow fully operation by the end of 2020.
Turkey has already received a lot of backlash from the US over its procurement of the air defense system. Following the delivery of the first four missile batteries from Russia in August 2019, Washington suspended Turkey from the F-35 fighter-jet program, and has threatened further sanctions.
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