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First part of Russian S-400 missile defence system delivered: Turkey

S-400 missile air defence systems. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Ankara Jul 12, 2019, 01.31 PM (IST)

Turkey's defence ministry said the first parts of the S-400 Russian missile defence systems were delivered to Ankara on Friday.

Turkey's acquisition of the Russian system is a source of tension between Turkey and NATO ally United States.

"The delivery of parts belonging to the system will continue in the coming days," Turkey's defence industry directorate said separately. "Once the system is completely ready, it will begin to be used in a way determined by the relevant authorities," it added.

A Russian Air Force AN-124 cargo plane had flown to Turkey early on Friday morning and was last tracked approaching Ankara, data from Flightradar24 website showed. Turkish broadcasters showed footage of the plane at the Murted Air Base.

Turkey had earlier called on the United States to avoid steps harmful to bilateral relations after the US State Department spokeswoman reiterated Ankara would face "real and negative consequences" for acquiring Russian S-400 defence systems.

Turkey's foreign ministry spokesman had said the comments by the State Department's Morgan Ortagus were not in line with the spirit and content of talks between presidents of the two countries at the G20 summit last month.

President Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting President Donald Trump in Osaka that the United States did not plan to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the S-400s, which he said would arrive in the first half of July. Trump said Turkey had not been treated fairly but did not rule out sanctions.

The United States says the S-400s are not compatible with NATO's defence network and could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and planning to buy.

Turkey could face expulsion from the F-35 programme and other US sanctions if it goes ahead with the S-400 delivery. Washington has already halted training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.