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Turkey risks U.S sanctions over Russia missile deal

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Source: Rueters – Turkey began taking delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system on Friday.

A move expected to trigger U.S. sanctions against a NATO ally and drive a wedge into the heart of the Western military alliance.

The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to the Murted military air base northwest of Ankara, the Turkish Defense Ministry said, sealing Turkey’s deal with Russia which Washington had struggled for months to prevent.

In the first comments from Washington, acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. position on the issue has not changed. The United States has threatened to impose sanctions on Ankara, saying Russian military hardware is not compatible with NATO systems and that the acquisition may lead to Turkey’s expulsion from an F-35 fighter jet program.

Investors in Turkey have been unsettled by the deal. The Turkish lira weakened as much as 1.6% to 5.7780 against the dollar, before recovering somewhat, after the ministry announced the arrival of the S-400 consignment. The main Istanbul share index fell 2.13%.

Turkish broadcasters showed footage of huge Russian Air Force AN-124 cargo planes offloading equipment at the air base.

“Today three cargo planes arrived,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told state-owned Anadolu news agency, adding that deliveries would continue in coming days.

A second delivery by air will take place soon, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted an unnamed military-diplomatic source as saying. A third delivery – of 120 guided missiles – will be carried out by ship at the end of the summer, the source said.

Twenty Turkish servicemen received training from Russia in May-June and 80 more Turkish servicemen will receive training to use the S-400 system, the source was quoted as saying.

“We are aware of Turkey taking delivery of the S-400, our position regarding the F-35 has not changed and I will speak with my Turkish counterpart Minister Akar this afternoon,” Esper said. “There will be more to follow after that conversation,” he said.

Turkey says the system is a strategic defense requirement, particularly to secure its southern borders with Syria and Iraq. It says that when it made the deal with Russia for the S-400s, the United States and Europe had not presented a viable alternative.

President Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting President Donald Trump at a G20 summit last month that the United States did not plan to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the S-400s.

Trump said Turkey had not been treated fairly but did not rule out sanctions, and U.S. officials said last week the administration still plans to act.

Under legislation known as Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which targets purchases of military equipment from Russia, Trump should select five of 12 possible measures.

These range from banning visas and denying access to the U.S.-based Export-Import Bank, to the harsher options of blocking transactions with the U.S. financial system and denying export licenses.

Washington says the S-400s could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and planning to buy.

Turkey could also face expulsion from the F-35 program under the sanctions. Erdogan has dismissed that possibility, but Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the program, halting training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft.

Turkey’s dollar bonds dropped to three-week lows on the news of the delivery, while the cost of insuring exposure to Turkish sovereign debt also rose.

The S-400 acquisition is one of several issues which have frayed ties between the two allies, including a dispute over strategy in Syria east of the Euphrates River, where the United States is allied with Kurdish forces that Turkey views as foes.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Mignolet to extend his stay in Liverpool- Klopp

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LiverpoolFc fans has called on Klopp to be careful of who to sign due to the club silent in the transfer market.

Liverpool gaffer has reacted by stating, he is keen to add more dept to his team as he look to secure another trophy in coming season.

Jurgen Klopp has also disclosed, he expects Simon Mignolet to remain at Liverpool following positive discussions with the goalkeeper.

Liverpool want to keep Mignolet, with sporting director Michael Edwards not putting a price on him.

And following the 3-1 preseason victory over Bradford City, Klopp disclosed a talk with the goalkeeper that suggests he will extend his six-year spell with the club.

“Yeah, how I’ve heard,” Klopp responded when asked whether Mignolet will remain with Liverpool.

“I’ve had a lot of conversations with him over the last couple of years and months.

“Before we left [for holiday], we had a talk and I would say, yes [he will stay]. I think at a club like Liverpool you need two No. 1s at least and we have that, that’s cool, with Ali and Simon.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Erdogan, confident that Trump will waive sanctions on Turkey.

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Source: Reuters- U.S. President Donald Trump has the authority to waive sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of Russian air defense systems and should find a “middle ground” in the dispute, President Tayyip Erdogan says.

First parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system are unloaded from a Russian plane at Murted Airport, known as Akinci Air Base, near Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019.

Erdogan’s comments came two days after NATO member Turkey took delivery of the first consignment of advanced Russian S-400 missile defense system parts, despite warnings from Washington that the move would trigger U.S. sanctions.

Broadcaster Haberturk quoted Erdogan as telling Turkish journalists that Trump “has the authority to waive or postpone CAATSA”, referring to U.S. sanctions designed to prevent countries buying military equipment from Russia.

“Since this is the case, it is Trump who needs to find the middle ground,” Erdogan said, according to Haberturk.

Trump expressed sympathy for Turkey’s position when he met Erdogan at a G20 summit in Japan last month, saying Ankara had bought the S-400s from Moscow because the previous U.S. administration would not sell it the Patriot defense system made by Raytheon Co.

“Right now, I don’t believe Trump is of the same opinion of those below him and he has said this in front of all the world’s media,” Erdogan said. “By buying the S-400s, we are not getting ready for war. We are trying to guarantee peace and our national security.”

Despite Trump’s warm words, U.S officials said last week the administration still planned to act.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Washington Post in an interview published late on Sunday “the law requires that there be sanctions and I’m confident that we will comply with the law and President Trump will comply with the law”.

U.S. officials have said Turkey could also be thrown off the F-35 stealth fighter jet program in addition to the threatened CAATSA sanctions,

Meaning it would no longer be part of the production process or be able to buy the jets it has ordered.

The Pentagon says the S-400s would pose a threat to the jets if they were operating in the same region.

Erdogan said Turkey had orders for more than 100 F-35s made by Lockheed Martin and expected Washington to remain committed to the deal.

Erdogan said Turkey still wanted to buy Patriot missile defense systems from Washington and the two countries should be aiming to increase trade and work on “comprehensive defense cooperation”.

“Trump has always viewed this positively,” he said. “ … Now, at a time when we are discussing mutual trade volumes of $75 billion, $100 billion, will we be dealing with this gossip? Why should we? We are strategic partners, let’s do what strategic partnership entails.”

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