Turkey to Test Russian S-400 Systems Despite US Condemnations
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Turkey to Test Russian S-400 Systems Despite US Condemnations

Ankara’s purchase of the S-400s has been a major factor souring relations with the United States, which says the system is not compatible with NATO defences and poses a threat to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter jets. The provincial governor’s office announced on Sunday that the Turkish Air Force F-16s and other aircraft will conduct low- and high-altitude flights over Ankara Monday and Tuesday to test an air defence system project. Broadcaster CNN Turk and other media said specifically that the flights were to test the S-400 radar system. Ankara began receiving the S-400s last July but they are not yet operational. Dealers said the reports had a negative impact on the lira, which weakened to 5.7380 against the dollar from a close of 5.7140 on Friday. Tensions in US-Turkish relations played a major role in a near 30% slide in the lira’s value last year. As recently as last Thursday, a senior State Department official told reporters Turkey needed to “get rid of” the system. Those comments came after President Tayyip Erdogan met US President Donald Trump at the White House. Trump said their talks were “wonderful” but it was unclear if the two NATO allies made any breakthrough on the S-400 issue and Erdogan subsequently said US pressure to get rid of the S-400s was an infringement of sovereign rights.

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