Washington/Ankara: – As per received information, Turkey tested the Russian-made S-400 missile defence system on Friday, and the United States has fired a salvo of criticism at Turkey over the test. The US defence department expressed its displeasure by saying, ‘Turkey has a certain commitment as a partner of the United States and a NATO member and activation of S-400 is not consistent with that position.’ The US State Department also criticised Turkey by saying that Turkey, who is a strategic partner of the United States, has overstepped its responsibility. The United States had already warned that Turkey would have to face severe sanctions if it activated the Russian-made S-400 missile system. Serious tensions are already reigning between the United States and Turkey over Syria, Libya, Greece and the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, and there are indications of the pressure festering further with this test of S-400.
A local news agency reported that Turkey tested the Russian-made S-400 system in the Sinop region, in the Black Sea sector, on Friday. Although the Turkish defence department refused to accept that a test was conducted, it has neither denied the report. Photographs and videos of the test have been posted on social media. Russian news agency Tass reported that Turkey used three missiles in the S-400 testing. The Russian news agency said that the news was based on information received from the military and diplomatic sources. Therefore, this confirms that Turkey tested the S-400 missile system.
Turkey bought the S-400 system from Russia in 2017 by signing an agreement worth USD 2.5 billion. The system was expected to be fully activated in March this year. But a Greek website claimed that the system was not deployed till date, as the system was found to be faulty. The Greek website also claimed that this had created a tension between Russia and Turkey. Against this background, Turkey taking steps to activate the system and conducting a successful test becomes significant.
The United States has reacted sharply over the Turkish test. The US defence department lashed out at turkey by saying, ‘The United States has made its stand regarding the S-400 very clear. Turkey has certain commitments as a partner of the United States and NATO. Activating S-400 is not consistent with this position. The United States has already raised its objections over the Turkish purchase of S-400. If Turkey is going to activate the S-400 system, it becomes a cause for concern for the United States.’ The US State Department also has expressed displeasure over the Turkish test, and spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus has accused that Turkey has overstepped its responsibilities as a strategic partner of the United States and also as a NATO member. Senior US Senator Jim Risch said that the Turkish behaviour is unacceptable. Senator Bob Menendez made an aggressive demand to impose sanctions against Turkey immediately.