US warns Turkey of ‘serious consequences’ after reports of S-400 activation

A part of a Russian S-400 defense system is seen after unloaded from a Russian plane at Murted Airport near Ankara, Turkey, Aug. 27, 2019. (Reuters)

Washington warned Turkey Friday against any attempts to test its Russian missile defense system it acquired despite strong opposition from NATO and the US.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his attacks against Europe after the EU said it deplores the “unilateral actions and provocations by Turkey” in the region.

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Reuters reported that a missile was fired along Turkey’s Black Sea coast, where the military was expected to test its Russian-made S-400 defense systems.

The video, taken in the coastal city of Sinop, showed a narrow column of smoke headed high into the blue sky. In recent days Turkey had issued notices restricting air space and waters off the coastal area to allow firing tests.

“If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO Ally and strategic partner of the United States,” State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

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Ortagus said the US was aware of the reports and Washington had expressed to the Turkish government, “at the most senior levels, that the acquisition of Russian military systems such as the S-400 is unacceptable.”

She added: “The United States has been clear on our expectation that the S-400 system should not be operationalized. We have also been clear on the potential serious consequences for our security relationship if Turkey activates the system.”

EU blasts Turkey’s actions

Separately, Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean, where it is pursuing natural gas exploration in contested waters, are provocative, regrettable and unnecessary, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

“We agreed that the recent unilateral measures taken by Turkey, which are of course provocative, are increasing tensions rather than easing them,” Merkel told reporters at an EU summit in Brussels. “This is very regrettable and not necessary.”

“We are keen to continue along the path we have taken with Turkey,” she added. “The further development of EU-Turkey relations is in the interest of both sides.”

For his part, European Council President Charles Michel said a summit would be held in December to assess the situation in the eastern Mediterranean and in Turkey.

“We deplore the unilateral actions and provocations by Turkey,” Michel said.

Erdogan was reported to have told journalists in Turkey that “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets.”

Read more: Greece lodges protest against Turkey for delaying foreign minister’s plane

- With Reuters

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Last Update: Saturday, 17 October 2020 KSA 01:52 - GMT 22:52
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