France to deploy air defence battery to Turkey's southern border

Turkish officials on Thursday said France plans to deploy a French and Italian-made SAMP-T air defence battery along Turkey's southern border, Reuters reported.

In June 2016, Italy deployed a SAMP/T system to southern Turkey as part of a NATO measure to reinforce Turkey’s border against a possible Syrian missile threat.

The announcement comes as Ankara is receiving deliveries of Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defence systems to Turkish soil. The Turkish defence ministry said on Thursday that the first shipment of S-400s to the country has been completed.

Ankara's purchase of Russian missile systems despite U.S. and NATO officials' objections has escalated the tensions between Turkey and the United States.

Washington maintains that the Russian systems are both incompatible with NATO defence systems and pose a security threat. Turkish officials familiar with the matter said U.S.-Turkey talks about a deal for American Patriot missiles were continuing.