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Turkey Will Deploy S-400 Despite Threat of US Sanctions

Just days after Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan’s visit to the White House, a senior official in Ankara confirmed that his country would deploy the S-400 anti-missile defense system despite the threat of US sanctions. NATO-member Turkey’s acquisition of the system from Russia in July caused a major rift with the United States, which fears its F-35 stealth jets in the Middle East could be compromised by the S-400’s advanced radars. As a precautionary, and punitive, measure, the US removed Turkey, which had ordered about 100 of the fifth-generation fighters, from the F-35 training program. President Donald Trump discussed with Erdogan the “serious challenges” posed by the S-400 during the latter’s trip to Washington last week, which was further cloaked in controversy due to widespread Congressional opposition to Turkey’s ongoing military operation against the US-allied Kurdish YPG in northeast Syria. Meanwhile, Erdogan’s spokesman likewise stressed over the weekend that, “there is no question of a step backwards, Turkey will activate the S-400.” Last month, US officials implied that Turkey could avoid being sanctioned if the S-400s remained non-operational.