July 22, 2019 / 3:07 PM / 4 months ago

Timeline: Turkey's path to buying Russian air defence systems - and possible U.S. sanctions

(Reuters) - Turkey said on Monday it would retaliate against threatened U.S. sanctions over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

FILE PHOTO: A view shows a new S-400 "Triumph" surface-to-air missile system after its deployment at a military base outside the town of Gvardeysk near Kaliningrad, Russia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar/File Photo

Turkey began receiving deliveries of the surface-to-air systems earlier this month, prompting the United States to begin removing the NATO ally from its F-35 stealth fighter programme over security concerns.

The following timeline presents the main developments on the issue over the past year and their impact on Turkey’s relations with the United States, its NATO ally.

July 25, 2017 - President Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey has made progress in plans to procure the S-400 missile defence system and signatures have been signed.

Dec 12, 2017 - Russia has offered Turkey partial financing for Ankara’s purchase of the air defence systems, Interfax news agency reports, citing a Russian presidential aide.

Dec 27, 2017 - The head of Russia’s Rostec corporation Sergei Chemzov says the S-400 contract is worth $2.5 billion, according to Kommersant daily.

Dec 29, 2017 - Turkey and Russia have signed an accord regarding supply of the systems, CNN Turk and other media said.

June 19, 2018 - A U.S. Senate committee passes a spending bill including a provision to block Turkey’s purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets unless it drops the plan to buy the S-400s.

March 28, 2019 - U.S. Senators introduce a bipartisan bill to prohibit the transfer of F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey until the U.S. government certifies that Ankara will not take delivery of the S-400s.

April 3, 2019 - Turkey proposes to the United States to form a working group to determine that the S-400s do not pose a threat to U.S. or NATO military equipment.

June 7, 2019 - The United States decides to stop accepting any additional Turkish pilots to train on F-35 fighter jets.

June 11, 2019 - Training by Turkish pilots on F-35 fighter jets has come to a faster-than-expected halt at a U.S. air base in Arizona, U.S. officials said, as the United States winds down Ankara’s involvement in the programme.

July 12, 2019 - Turkey’s defence ministry said the first parts of the S-400 systems were delivered to Ankara.

July 18, 2019 - The United States said it was removing Turkey from the F-35 programme; Ellen Lord, Undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment said Turkey would no longer receive more than $9 billion in projected work.

July 22, 2019 - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey is not a country that “will bow down to those who show animosity” towards it, vowing to retaliate if Washington imposes economic sanctions. He also says he thinks President Donald Trump wants to avoid such measures.

Reporting by Oben Mumcuoglu, Halilcan Soran, Berna Syuleymanoglu and Tommy Lund in Gdynia; Editing by Gareth Jones

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