Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

In this file photo taken on May 7, 2017, the Russian S-400 air defense missile systems drive during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system. (AP)
Updated 29 December 2017

Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

ANKARA: Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system, Turkish defense officials announced Friday, despite concerns voiced by some of the NATO member’s allies.
The deal, which would make Turkey the first member of the military alliance to own Russia’s most advanced air defense system, comes amid strengthening ties between Turkey and Russia and Ankara’s deteriorating relations with the United States and other western countries.
The Turkish Defense Industries Undersecretariat said in a statement Friday that Turkey would buy at least one S-400 surface-to-air missile battery with the option of procuring a second battery. The delivery of the first battery was scheduled for the first quarter of 2020, the statement said.
The two countries on Friday also finalized a financial agreement for the project, under which part of the cost would be financed through a Russian loan, the Defense Industries body said, without revealing details of the deal.
Turkish media reported Friday that Turkey would purchase four S-400 units at a cost of $2.5 billion. Sergei Chemezov, head of Russia’s state-controlled Rostech corporation, also told the business daily Kommersant in an interview published Wednesday that the contract was worth $2.5 billion and that a Russian loan would account for 55 percent of the sum.
Chemezov said Turkey would buy four batteries and that the first deliveries would start in March 2020, according to Kommersant.
“It’s the first NATO country to purchase our most advanced S-400 system,” he said.
The reason for the discrepancy over the number of batteries Russia would supply Turkey was not immediately clear. The Defense Industries body would not disclose the cost of the project or other details, citing “principles of secrecy” agreed to by the two countries.
The S-400 has a range of up to 400 kilometers and can simultaneously engage multiple targets. It’s capable of shooting down ballistic missile warheads along with aircraft and cruise missiles.
Russia deployed the S-400s to its base in Syria to deter Turkey when the two nations were on the verge of conflict after a Turkish jet downed a Russian bomber on the Syrian border in November 2015.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in September that Turkey had signed a deal to buy the Russian system and made a down payment, drawing concerns from some of Turkey’s NATO allies.
Some NATO countries have expressed worries that the S-400 system is not compatible with the alliance’s weapons systems.
The Defense Industries agency said the Russian system would be operated under the full control of the Turkish military and “in an independent manner, without any links to any outside elements.”
“The system’s operation, management, and systems recognizing friends and foes will be undertaken through national means,” the Defense Industries body said.


Hong Kong campus protesters must surrender: Carrie Lam

Updated 9 min 23 sec ago

Hong Kong campus protesters must surrender: Carrie Lam

  • Carrie Lam believes around 100 people remain at the campus, surrounded by police trying to quell the unrest
  • Hundreds of mainly young protesters took over the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus at the weekend

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s chief executive said Tuesday that protesters occupying a city center university had to surrender if the three-day stand-off was to be resolved peacefully.
In her first public comments on the siege at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Carrie Lam said she believed around 100 people remained at the campus, surrounded by police who were trying to quell the unrest.
“This objective could only be achieved with the full cooperation of the protesters, including of course the rioters that they have to stop violence, give up the weapons and come out peacefully and take the instructions from the police,” she told a press conference.
Hundreds of mainly young protesters took over the campus at the weekend, holding off police assaults with a barrage of Molotov cocktails, bricks and arrows, in the most extreme expression of a popular protest movement that is now in its sixth month.
Despite huge police deployments across the territory and almost 4,500 arrests, thousands of protesters continue to take to the streets, sparking warnings from Beijing that it is ready to intervene.
A brief weekend appearance on the streets of People’s Liberation Army soldiers based at Hong Kong garrison — ostensibly to clean up protesters’ debris — fueled concerns that China is ready to make good on its threats.
A garrison of thousands of PLA troops has long been stationed in Hong Kong.
The city’s Basic Law, the mini-constitution that governs its autonomy, states those troops can be deployed to “maintain public order” at the Hong Kong government’s request.
The central government can also effectively suspend Hong Kong’s Basic Law and take full control if there is a “state of war” or “turmoil” that endangers national security.
On Monday, China’s ambassador to Britain said if the situation “becomes uncontrollable,” the central government would act.
Asked Tuesday under what conditions she would ask the PLA’s garrison in Hong Kong for help, Lam said if the city’s authorities could not competently deal with the “rioters” and escalating violence.
“But right now, we are still displaying and demonstrating competence to handle the situation ourselves,” Lam said.