Apr 16 2019

Ankara considering Azerbaijan, Qatar to store S-400 systems - Sabah columnist

Ankara is mulling the option of temporarily storing the  S-400 air defence missile systems to be purchased from Russia in Azerbaijan or Qatar, Okan Müderrisoğlu, a columnist with pro-government Sabah newspaper wrote on Tuesday.

"It would be incredibly optimistic to expect a solution that goes beyond deploying the S-400 in a way that does not pose a risk for the F-35s," Müderrisoğlu wrote.

Ankara’s planned purchase of the S-400 missile systems is increasing tensions between Turkey and the United States.  U.S. lawmakers continue to warn Ankara that its purchase of the Russian system could lead to U.S. sanctions and place Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 fighter jet programme at risk. Washington maintains that Ankara cannot have both the American fighter jets and Russian defence systems on grounds that the S-400 is not compatible with NATO systems and it would be compromising on the security of the F-35 jets.

Azerbaijan-based Trend news agency on Tuesday reported that Ankara was considering temporarily storing the S-400 system in Azerbaijan, noting however that Turkey has not decided yet in which country the anti-aircraft missile systems will be kept.

The United States earlier this month stopped shipping equipment related to the F-35 stealth fighter aircraft to Turkey, in what has been the first concrete step Washington has taken to block delivery of the jet to its NATO ally over its planned S-400 purchase.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month said that Russia is set to deliver the missiles in July.