Turkish military officials speaking to Daily Sabah have denied late Wednesday a Sky News Arabia report that the S-400 missile defense system was moved to Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey.
Earlier, Sky News Arabia had claimed that “Turkey brought S-400 batteries to Incirlik base used by the United States and NATO forces” in a tweet, citing a U.S. Department of Defense official.
Turkey’s initial purchase of S-400s from Russia strained ties with the United States. The move prompted Washington to remove Turkey from the new generation F-35 Lightning II jet program. The U.S. had also threatened to impose new sanctions if Turkey buys more major arms systems from Moscow.
The U.S. argued that the system could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the Lockheed Martin F-35 jets and that it is incompatible with NATO systems. Turkey, however, insists that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Previous talks on Turkey’s purchase of U.S.-made Patriots collapsed over a host of issues, from the S-400s to Ankara’s dissatisfaction with Washington’s terms. Turkey has said it will only agree to an offer if it includes a technology transfer and joint production terms.
The U.S. sanctioned Turkey in 2020 for its purchase under a 2017 law aimed at pushing back Russian influence. The move was the first time that the law, known as Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), was used to penalize a U.S. ally.