Russia missile THREAT: USA eyes up more Turkey sanctions as Ankara IGNORES warnings

DONALD Trump’s administration could slap Turkey with more sanctions over a decision by Ankara to deploy an advanced Russian missile system on Europe’s doorstep, Turkish media reports.

By Harvey Gavin

PUBLISHED: 19:17, Thu, Nov 15, 2018 | UPDATED: 19:17, Thu, Nov 15, 2018

Turkey could face further sanctions over its purchase of the Russian made S-400 missile system (Image: GETTY IMAGES)

The United States has repeatedly warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to go ahead with a purchase of the S-400 surface-to-air missile platform amid concerns it could be used to target the new F-35 stealth fighter. But it emerged in September that Turkey had begun work on a launch site to accommodate the Russian-made weaponry. Turkey insists the missiles are not a threat to American jets, but US officials are “not optimistic” over Ankara’s assurances, according to Turkish news agency Anadolu.

But the source added negotiations between Washington and Ankara over the issue are “continuing”.

The Russian-made S-400 can target multiple aerial targets within its 250 mile range (Image: GETTY IMAGES)

The S-400 reportedly poses a ‘threat’ to the US-made F-35 jets (Image: GETTY IMAGES)

The S-400 is touted as one of the most advanced systems in the world and is capable of engaging multiple aerial targets within its 250 mile range.

It is designed to knock incoming ballistic missiles out of the sky before they reach their target and can also target stealth warplanes – including the new F-35 fighter.

Turkey is due to receive two F-35s in the near future ahead of a further order which will eventually see the country take delivery of 100 of the high-tech jets.

But experts have warned the planes, combined with the S-400 missile system, could allow Russia to analyse the stealth technology fitted to the plane.

Writing in the National Interest, defence expert Sebastien Roblin said: “In short, the Pentagon sees the combination of S-400 batteries and F-35 fighters as one that may give Russia a chance to closely study the stealth jet, and tailor their air defences to defeat it.”

Trump reveals that Turkey released Pastor Andrew Brunson

 

Russia said Turkey’s S-400 missiles will be delivered in 2019 (Image: GETTY IMAGES)

NATO countries have also expressed concerns over Turkey’s S-400 purchase because it is incompatible with equipment used by the Western alliance.

Relations between Ankara have Washington improved slightly in recent weeks following the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson who was being held in Turkey on terrorism charges.

President Donald Trump had slapped Turkey with tough sanctions after a deal he struck with President Erdogan to secure Mr Brunson’s release fell through.

But following the pastor’s release last month, Mr Trump signalled a thawing of relations could be possible, tweeting the move “will lead to good, perhaps great, relations between the United States & Turkey!”

However the ongoing row over the S-400 threatens recent progress between the two nations.

Russia has previously said it plans to deliver the new missiles in 2019.

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