On Friday afternoon, Turkey tested a missile at the site where Turkey had indicated it was about to test one of its controversial S-400 missiles, which were made in Russia and purchased under threats from NATO that the use would compromise its technology.
According to Reuters and others who witnessed the missile launch, the launch took place in the Black Sea coastal town of Sinop, where a white column of smoke reached into the sky on Friday afternoon.
Turkey had notified previously that the airspace and nearby waters would be restricted in the near future to allow for missile testing.
If the launch is verified to be of the S-400 missiles, this would be a clear signal to the US that the country has no intention of backing down from the use of the Russian-made weapons system.
American and NATO officials had repeatedly stated that Turkish use of the Russian system by a NATO member would compromise the defense system of the military alliance.
Last year, unable to convince Turkey not to purchase the Russian system, the US suspended Turkey from taking part in its state of the art F-35 aircraft program.
As a sop, the US even offered that Turkey instead purchase its own Patriot missile defense system if the country would only make the S-400 missiles non-operational.
After Turkey rebuffed the offer, it was removed from participation in the fighter jet program.
The launch was seen by some experts as taking advantage of the political situation in the United States right now, just over two weeks away from the presidential elections, with President Donald Trump campaigning nearly full-time.
Former Vice President Joe Biden had said as one of his campaign promises that he would take a harder line on Turkey if he is elected.
The testing takes place on the very day that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is in Brussels at the EU Summit, which will take up the issue of Turkey’s continued provocative behavior, which has ramped up recently with the repeated sending of its drilling ships into waters which are atop the Greek continental shelf.
Time for US to implement CAATSA sanctions on Turkey. https://t.co/f7CFq2iyjI
— The Greek Analyst (@GreekAnalyst) October 16, 2020