Turkey currently has military personnel in Russia learning how to operate the new surface-to-air missile system it says will be delivered next month. In the United States, Turkish pilots are training on the F-35 fighter jets their government has ordered from Lockheed Martin.
In recent years, many countries have bought or intend to buy the Russian S-400 air defence system, including China, Saudi Arabia, India and Qatar.
The most prominent and sensitive case for NATO is Turkey. Turkey intends to purchase the advanced Russian S-400 air defence system, the first missiles and their associated radars could start to be delivered in July 2019
Washington has made clear to Ankara that if it continues trying to play both sides by going through with the delivery of the Russian S-400, Turkish pilots will leave the US and the F-35s will stay home.
So far, the Turkish government isn’t blinking. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated again Friday the agreement is going through. “We have no hostility against anyone but we are not living in a rose garden,” Cavusoglu said in a news conference. “Our neighbors are not Mexico and Canada like America’s neighbors. There have been serious threats in our region and we need to take necessary steps for Turkey’s interests.”
As for the US threats of possible sanctions, the foreign minister said: “We will certainly respond.”