- The Washington Times
Friday, October 23, 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday confirmed a recent test by Turkey’s military of a Russian-made S-4000 missile defense system.

The development was quickly condemned by the Pentagon, which said that an operational S-400 system is “not consistent with Turkey’s commitments as a U.S. and NATO ally.”

“The U.S. Department of Defense condemns in the strongest possible terms Turkey’s October 16 test of the S-400 air defense system — a test confirmed today by Turkish President Recep Erdogan,” Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

“We object to Turkey’s testing of this system, which risks serious consequences for our security relationship,” he added.

His comments come a week after Turkish media reported that Turkey conducted a test of its Russian-made air defense system which they had acquired last year over the strenuous objections of the United States.

Turkish media said that the military fired the Russian S-400 air defense missile in the Sinop province, which borders the Black Sea. A Turkish news channel considered close to Ankara obtained amateur video that apparently showed a missile’s contrail shooting into the sky.

Turkey’s decision to purchase the $2.5 billion Russian system resulted in them being shut out of the program to purchase the U.S. built F-35 Lightning II fighter jet.

At the time, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle issued sweeping calls for penalties on Turkey for acquiring the Russian system last year after warnings grew that the Russian system can be used to spy on and shoot down the F-35 aircraft. The White House has yet to formally punish Ankara outside of removing Turkey from the F-35 joint manufacturing program.

Mr. Hoffman highlighted the suspension and said the “S-400 continues to be a significant barrier to progress elsewhere in the bilateral relationship.”

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