The Times: Turkey Starts Testing C-400 against US F-16

World | November 26, 2019, Tuesday // 19:21
Bulgaria: The Times: Turkey Starts Testing C-400 against US F-16

Turkey has begun testing the recently acquired Russian C-400 anti-aircraft missile systems against US-made F-16 fighter jets, according to The Times.

Turkish television showed blurred footage of the first C-400 radar test, which began earlier near the capital Ankara. US Airplanes serving in the Turkish Air Force (Air Force) for 32 years have been used for training purposes. City officials have warned residents that in the coming days, F-16s and other planes will fly low above the ground.

The C-400 was delivered to the country in July after nearly three years of talks between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin. As a result, Turkey was excluded from NATO's program for the production and purchase of new generation F-35 fighter jets. According to Turkish media, the C-400 will be deployed in Ankara and fully operational in April 2020. In the summer, the deployment of the complexes was halted due to the fact that Washington was trying to "return Erdogan to the US military system." Washington fears the C-400 will help Moscow gather information about Western military technology, including the F-35, "much faster than usual." Therefore, Turkey's decision to buy an air defense system from Russia has triggered a crisis within the North Atlantic Alliance, especially amid a Cold War-style confrontation between the two countries, The Times explains.

Earlier, Turkey rejected the offer to buy the US Patriot missile system because of restrictions on intellectual property transfers. But most of all, relations between the two countries were marred by developments in Syria, "which further pushed Erdogan into Putin's embrace," the publication said. Turkey's recent invasion of northern Syria has forced Donald Trump to withdraw US troops from the region. As a result, Assad's government troops, with the support of the Russian army, occupied the territory, the newspaper recalls.

While Erdogan was preparing for the offensive, Trump sent him a letter urging him not to pretend to be an "iron leader" and not be a "fool." Ankara sources say the Turkish president threw the message in the bin. Erdogan later went on a state visit to Washington and seems to have found a common ground with Trump again. US officials said the C-400 deal was the main topic of negotiations. But two days after the meeting, the Turkish leader reiterated that he had no intention of parting with Russian systems, even in the case of purchasing US systems.

“We consider offers to buy just Patriots and completely put Russian S-400s aside as an interference in our sovereign rights,” the Turkish leader said.

In light of recent events, the US is likely to impose sanctions on Turkey for the purchase of the C-400. So far, the idea has remained within diplomacy thanks to the personal friendship of the two leaders and their sons-in-law, the Times points out

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