Turkey says deployment of Russian S-400 missiles delayed, but will happen

Making the S-400s operational exposes Turkey to US sanctions under legislation designed to punish countries which buy defense equipment from Russia. 

April 30, 2020

WASHINGTON  – Turkey’s planned deployment of Russian S-400 missile defenses has been delayed by the coronavirus outbreak but will ultimately go ahead, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Thursday, despite Washington’s warnings that Ankara risks U.S. sanctions.

“There has been a delay because of the coronavirus but it will move forward as it was planned,” Ibrahim Kalin told an online meeting hosted by the Atlantic Council, adding that Erdogan had told President Donald Trump several times that he was also interested in purchasing U.S. Patriot missiles.

Reuters earlier this month reported that Turkey delayed bringing online the Russian weapons systems, which the United States says are incompatible with NATO defenses and would jeopardize U.S. F35 stealth jets which Turkey planned to buy.
Erdogan previously had said the S-400s would be activated in April but the coronavirus pandemic has focused Turkish efforts on combating the outbreak and supporting an economy which faces a second recession in two years. In recent weeks Erdogan and his government had not raised the issue publicly.