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Delayed S-400 activation could offer chance for Turkey-US ties to warm

Citing complications amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ankara has postponed the activation of its Russian-made S-400 missile systems, possibly opening an avenue to ease US-Turkey tensions.
ANKARA, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 25: The S-400 air defence system from Russia is activated for testing at Turkish Air Force's Murdet Air Base on November 25, 2019 in Ankara, Turkey. Turkey purchased the anti-aircraft weapons system from Russia over the objections of the United States, which has threatened to sanction Turkey and exclude it from its F-35 fighter jet program. The U.S. fears that the F-35, which is designed to evade such anti-aircraft systems, will be compromised if Turkey deploys both. (Photo by Gett

ISTANBUL — Turkey has been the subject of looming US sanctions ever since the S-400 missiles landed in Ankara last July. The Russian-made defense systems are said to pose security threats to NATO alliance equipment in the country and Turkey was booted from the F-35 fighter jet program as a result of the acquisition, escalating US-Turkey tensions indefinitely.

On Monday, Turkish officials said they would postpone the activation of the S-400 systems, scheduled to take place this month, citing complications stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic, though plans to use the missiles remain unchanged. In response, US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told Reuters Washington continues to object “strenuously” to Ankara’s purchase of the missiles.

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