A report says Turkey is preparing for possible sanctions by the United States against the country over its purchase of Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defense system.
Reporting on Monday, Bloomberg alleged that the Turkish military was stockpiling spare parts for US-made weapons as the bans loom large.
Those include parts belonging to F-16 fighter jets and other military equipment, it said, citing “two Turkish officials.”
It is unclear, though, when the stockpiling decision was first taken or when the hardware began being stored away.
The United States placed a three-year arms embargo on Turkey in 1975.
Turkey and Russia finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400s in December 2017, two years after the US decided to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from the Turkish border with Syria.
Ever since, Washington has been warning Ankara against going ahead with the purchase, including by threatening to remove it from a multilateral program aimed at manufacturing the US’s F-35 warplanes.
Several Turkish industrial giants are partaking in the program, and Turkish pilots have trained in the US to fly the aircraft.
Recently, however, the US stopped training the pilots over Ankara’s refusal to halt the purchase. Washington has also warned it would ultimately refuse to provide Turkey with the aircraft.
Last month, however, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the missile systems would begin arriving in the country in July.
Owning the S-400 would enable Turkey to lay its hands on the ballistic missile technology. The acquisition is also reportedly to be followed by Turkey’s joint production of the defensive equipment’s next batch together with Russia.
Washington and its allies in the US-led Western military alliance of NATO, of which Turkey is also a member, allege “security concerns” over the acquisition besides citing the S-400’s alleged incompatibility with the alliance’s other military equipment.