Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Friday confirmed the first test last week of a controversial Russian missile defense system, as it dismissed US criticism.
The US State Department last week condemned NATO ally Turkey for the test after repeated warnings of possible sanctions if the S-400 system were activated.
“This is true for the tests, they have been carried out and will continue,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul after reports emerged last Friday that the Turkish military carried out the test firing of the S-400s. . “We’re not going to ask America’s permission.”
Erdogan stressed that the US opinion on the issue “does not bind” Turkey, adding: “If we are not going to test what we have in our hands, what else would we do?
There had been hopes in Washington that Ankara would “keep it in the box”, but Turkey had always insisted that the S-400s would be deployed after their delivery last year.
“We have also been clear on the potential serious consequences for our security relations if Turkey activates the system,” a spokesperson for the State Department. Morgan ortagus said last Friday.
But Ankara accuses Washington of failing to sell competing US Patriots and emphasizes its security needs for the purchase of the Russian system.
Turkey faces sanctions under a 2017 law known as CAATSA, which imposes sanctions for any “large” arms purchases from Russia.
Turkey had already been removed from the F-35 fighter jet program following the purchase.
The S-400 tests come at a particularly tense time in Turkey’s relations with NATO allies the United States, France and Germany, after Ankara resumed gas exploration this month. here in waters disputed by another Alliance member, Greece.